Portland General Electric, NextEra Announce Unique Solar-Wind-Energy Storage Project in Oregon

Solar Power Plant and Wind Farm

Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources will team with Portland General Electric Co. to build a combined wind, solar and energy storage power facility in eastern Oregon.

The announcement Wednesday detailed the new project called the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility. The companies’ press release called it “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.”

Details on the solar and battery storage components are still up in the air, but the wind farm itself was comfirmed to include 120 turbines manufactured by GE Renewable Energy Inc. The wind farm will be north of Lexington, Oregon.

"We're moving aggressively to integrate smart grid technologies and renewable energy to give customers affordable, clean, low-carbon energy," said Maria Pope, Portland General Electric 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 utility's wind generation portfolio to a nameplate total of more than 1,000 MW 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.

"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," said Armando Pimentel, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources. "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."

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. 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. NextEra Energy Resources has more than 14,000 MW of wind generation and 2,000 MW of solar in its North American portfolio.

PGE will own 100 MW of the Wheatridge wind project. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will own the balance of the project and sell its output to PGE under 30-year power purchase agreements.

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 and qualify for the federal production tax credit at the 100 percent level. Construction of the solar and battery components is planned for 2021 and will qualify for the federal investment tax credit.

 

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