January 2006

Wind turbines now generating electricity
Hopkins Ridge is Washington State’s first wind project owned solely by one utility Visit Kevin Connor's Website

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 homes.

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 power grid.

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.

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