World?s Largest Wind Farm as First GE Turbines Arrive

Work on the world’s largest wind energy project is well under way as the first wind turbines have arrived at the Shepherds Flat wind farm in Oregon, GE (NYSE: GE) reported at the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Windpower 2011 Conference & Exhibition. More than 200 GE wind turbines are expected to arrive at the site before the end of this year, with the remaining units to be shipped in 2012. Shepherds Flat will be the first project in the United States to use GE’s 2.5-100 wind turbines, which have logged more than 2.3 million operating hours in Europe and Asia.

GE’s logistics, service and project management experts have been working with the project’s developers and preparing for over a year to ensure the installation at the site runs smoothly. The team, which includes the technicians that will be responsible for the continued operation of the wind farm through a 10-year operations and maintenance agreement, has trained extensively on the equipment at GE’s Energy Learning Center in Salzbergen, Germany.

“Our 2.5-100 machine is designed to yield the highest annual energy production in its class, bringing extra value to our customer, Caithness Energy,” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewable energy for GE Power & Water and the outgoing chairman of AWEA’s board of directors. “We are excited to be moving forward with the development of this leading wind farm.”

Stretching across 30 square miles of north-central Oregon, the Shepherds Flat project will include 338 GE 2.5-100 wind turbines and will have a total capacity of 845 megawatts, enough clean energy for 235,000 households. When completed in 2012, Shepherds Flat will be larger than any wind farm currently in operation in the United States. Some of the largest components for the Shepherds Flat 2.5-100 wind turbines, including the machine heads and hubs, are being built at GE’s Pensacola, Fla., and Tehachapi, Calif., facilities. The first hubs for the project came off the line in Tehachapi in February, while production of machine heads began in Pensacola earlier this year.

The Shepherds Flat wind farm is owned by developer and managing member Caithness Energy, along with GE Energy Financial Services, Google and subsidiaries of ITOCHU Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation. Total project value is approximately $2 billion. The wind farm has put in place three 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison, helping California meet its renewable energy goals.