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Google-Funded 845 MW Wind Farm Goes Online

A Google-backed wind farm in Oregon is operational and generating up to 845 MW of wind energy.

The Shepherds Flat project is one of the largest on-shore wind farms in the world, according to Oregon officials and developer Caithness Energy, and will eliminate 1.483 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

Located in northeastern Oregon near the town of Arlington, the wind farm is expected to produce an estimated 2 billion kWh each year, and have an annual economic impact of $37 million for the state.

The project has a 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison.

Google invested $100 million in Shepherds Flat last year, as part of a $500 million funding round that also included GE Energy Financial Services, Tyr Energy and Sumitomo Corporation of America, Sustainable Business Oregon reports.

The project was one of the first to use the US Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program.

Earlier this week, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Sprint and 16 other companies sent a letter to Congress, urging elected officials to extend the wind production tax credit (PTC) before it expires at the end of 2012.

The PTC, originally signed into law by President George H.W. Bush seven years ago, provides a tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of renewable power generated.

The US has installed a total of 50 GW of wind energy capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. But the PTC’s scheduled expiration date has caused the industry’s manufacturing supply chain to start slowing down, given the 18-month project development cycle under which the industry operates.

According to the 2012 edition of the Corporate Renewable Energy Index, commissioned by Vestas in partnership with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, more companies are increasing their use of renewable energy and investing directly in renewable energy projects such as the Shepherds Flat wind farm.



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