The first phase of the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility in Morrow County is now operational.
The commercial power generation project, a joint venture between Portland General Electric Company and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, came online Dec. 8. According to a news release from PGE, the facility is “one of the first large-scale energy facilities in the United States to combine wind, solar and battery storage resources at a single location.”
A 300-megawatt wind farm with 120 turbines was the first phase of the project and is now generating power. The 50-megawatt solar farm and 30-megawatt battery storage are expected to be operational in 2021.
The project — just northeast of Lexington — is part of PGE’s companywide goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
“Customers want and expect cleaner, greener energy sources,” Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO, said in a news release. “This is an exciting step toward completion of this important resource and adds to our growing wind generation portfolio. We deeply appreciate the partnerships that make the Wheatridge project possible, with NextEra and with the transmission services teams at the Bonneville Power Administration and Umatilla Electric Cooperative.”
Sen. Ron Wyden praised the project in a statement, saying he was happy to have helped the project get over hurdles. He said it will have a “huge benefit” in both handling the climate crisis and generating jobs in rural Oregon.
Port of Morrow General Manager Ryan Neal said in a statement the port’s long-term partnership with PGE has created family-wage jobs for the county, and Morrow County Commissioner Don Russell said in a statement the county was pleased to be playing a role in providing clean energy for Oregonians.
“Projects like Wheatridge Energy Facility provide family-wage jobs, tax revenue for our schools and services and strengthen Morrow County’s position in the region’s clean energy economy,” Russell said.
According to the news release, the wind farm brings PGE’s wind generation portfolio up to more than 1,000 megawatts nameplate capacity, “typically generating enough power to serve the equivalent of 340,000 homes.” The release said “up to” 300 jobs were created at Wheatridge during the construction of the wind phase, and about 174 workers will build the solar and battery storage phases. About 10 employees will operate the site once it is finished.