The new project, called the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, will be the first of this scale in North America to co-locate and integrate these three technologies, creating an improved zero-emissions resource and accelerating Oregon’s transition to clean energy.
“We’re moving aggressively to integrate smart grid technologies and renewable energy to give customers affordable, clean, low-carbon energy,” said Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO. “Wheatridge will be a model for integrating renewable generation and storage to cost-effectively reduce emissions while maintaining a reliable grid.”
The new facility, combined with PGE’s existing resources, will bring the company’s wind generation portfolio to a nameplate total of more than 1,000 MW (one GW), available from five owned or contracted wind farms in the Northwest – enough power to serve the equivalent of 340,000 homes. The solar farm will be one of the largest in Oregon, while the battery storage facility will be the largest in Oregon and one of the largest in the United States.
With the addition of these new renewable resources, PGE expects to meet about 50 percent of its customers’ power needs with emissions-free generation.
U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has supported the project from its inception.
"Portland General Electric's decision to join with NextEra Energy Resources in constructing the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility provides both a well-earned economic boost to Eastern Oregon and an important step on our country's needed path to green energy," said Wyden.
Power from the facility will be generated by 120 wind turbines manufactured by GE Renewable Energy, Inc. The wind farm will be located just north of Lexington, Oregon, in Morrow County. The specific equipment to be used at the associated solar farm and battery storage facility is still to be determined.
Wheatridge will provide up to 300 jobs during construction of the wind site and up to 175 jobs during construction of the solar and storage sites. Approximately 10 full-time employees will operate the combined facilities once they’re commissioned for service.
Swaggart Wind Power, LLC began development and permitting of the Wheatridge wind farm in 2009. Swaggart is an affiliate of MAP® Energy. The project was then acquired by a NextEra Energy Resources subsidiary in 2017. NextEra and PGE expanded the project scope to include solar generation and battery storage.
PGE will own 100 MW of the wind project. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will own the balance of the project and sell its output to PGE under 30-year PPAs. NextEra Energy Resources’ subsidiary will build and operate the combined facility. The split ownership and PPA structure will allow the two energy companies to share project risks and benefits.
The wind component of the facility will be operational by December 2020. Construction of the solar and battery components is planned for 2021. PGE expects to invest approximately $160 million for its owned portion of the project.
“We’re pleased to work with Portland General Electric on the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, an exciting opportunity to combine wind, solar and energy storage. This venture will allow PGE’s customers to benefit from more renewable energy over more hours of the day and create substantial economic value for the communities that host this project, many of whom stand to benefit for years to come,” said Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources