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World’s Biggest Wind Farm One Step Closer to Reality

world's largest wind farm to be built in eastern oregonSomewhere out there in Oregon, green job seekers are cheering. The world’s largest wind farm has just cleared another hurdle, with yesterday’s announcement by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu that a partial guarantee for a $1.3 billion (yes, billion) loan has been finalized.  The 845-megawatt behemoth, called the Caithness Shepherds Flat project, will be sited in eastern Oregon and bring hundreds of new construction jobs to the area.

Hundreds of Green Jobs for Oregon

The new wind farm is a project of Caithness Energy, LLC and GE Energy Financial Services, with GE also supplying 338 of its 2.5xl wind turbines, which are the next-generation version of its popular 1.5-MW model  (and they’ll be made at a GE facility in the U.S, by the way). These particular turbines haven’t been used in North America yet, so that’s another first.  The project is expected to put 400 people to work during construction, and then provide about 35 permanent positions.

Millions of Megawatts of Clean Energy for the U.S.

CleanTechnica covered the new wind farm when it was first confirmed back in 2008, and the project is on track to meet its goal of completion in 2012. It’s big all right, but it’s almost a drop in the bucket compared to all the clean energy projects for which the U.S. Department of Energy has issued loan guarantees or other forms of support in just the last few years. So far there are sixteen projects totaling more than 37 million megawatt-hours, though that figure rather optimistically includes a 2,200 megawatt nuclear plant (good luck with that!).

Image: Welcome to Oregon by H Dragon on flickr.com.


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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.

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