now generating electricity
Hopkins Ridge is Washington State’s first
wind project owned solely by one utility
Bellevue, WA— The winds
that regularly sweep across southeast Washington’s expansive
wheat fields are now helping to illuminate the million-plus homes
and businesses receiving electric service from Puget Sound Energy
(subsidiary of Puget Energy).
The Evergreen State’s largest
utility announced in December the completion of its Hopkins Ridge
wind-power project, located about 285 miles southeast of Seattle,
near Dayton. The $200 million power-generating facility makes
PSE the only Northwest utility to solely own and operate a large
wind farm. PSE expects to have a second wind farm operational
in late 2006.
The Hopkins Ridge Wind Project
has 83 massive wind turbines, all standing 335 feet high from
the ground to the vertical tip of their 262-foot-diameter, three-blade
rotors. The turbine towers are spread across 11,000 acres of mostly
privately owned range and farm land.
When all 83 turbines are running
at peak capacity, they can generate 150 megawatts of electricity
— enough energy on an average basis to supply about 50,000
PSE’s goal is to serve
up to 10 percent of its customers’ total electricity needs
by 2013 from renewable resources. Once the utility’s second
wind project becomes operational, about 5 percent of PSE’s
power supply will be renewable.
Each Hopkins Ridge turbine has
a generator and gearbox housed inside a 77-ton nacelle fixed atop
a 220-foot tower. The project’s power output travels through
93 miles of underground cable to a substation and moves over a
high-voltage Bonneville Power Administration line to PSE’s
Puget Sound Energy built 18 miles
of roads to service the towers. Eighteen workers will staff the
Hopkins Ridge project and PSE’s local office in Dayton.