Stateline Wind Generating Project 
A wind farm along the Washington-Oregon border, southwest of Walla Walla, Wahington         

By Lisa Bean

                                    Wind photo



The Stateline Wind Generating Project is the single largest wind-powered renewable energy development in the world.   The Project will consist of about 450 wind turbines, with the total capacity to produce 300 megawatts of electricity. On average, thatís enough energy to power 70,000 homes, or about one-third of the residences in Portland, Oregon.  There will be a total of about 300 turbines in Washington and 80 turbines in Oregon.  There are another 50-75 turbines proposed to put in on the Oregon side.  The project will provide a much needed boost of clean, renewable energy to the West. 


Stateline is located on the border of northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington, southeast of Walla Walla, Washington.  The site is located on privately owned hilltops and ridges south of U.S. Highway 12 between Walla Walla and Wallula Gap.   The ridges catch the wind from the Columbia River Gorge, which has an average wind speed of 16 to 18 mph.  The project is located close to pre-existing transmission lines, which reduces the need to install new lines.  The land is used for farming and ranching, and these practices will continue, as they are compatible with wind power generation. 




Wind power is a renewable resource that is clean and efficient.  The new high-efficiency wind turbine designs have made wind power a viable energy resource in todayís market.  If natural gas or coal were used to generate the same amount of power, the fossil fuel would emit at least 310,00 tons of carbon dioxide per year.  Wind power produces no air emissions. 

The Stateline Project will provide substantial benefits to the local communities. The project will employ construction workers, provide lease payments to the farmers and ranchers who own the land, and pay taxes to local governments.  There will be 15 full-time jobs and seven part-time jobs created, as well as a need for 350 construction workers at the peak of construction. 


FPL Energy is building, owns and operates the entire Stateline Wind Generating Project.  PacifiCorp Power Marketing, Inc. (PPM) purchased and will market the entire output of the project for the next 25 years. PPM will take delivery of the power at two substations located in Washington and will deliver output to regional utilities, such as the Bonneville Power Administration.  The turbines are manufactured by Vestas-American Wind Technology, based in North Palm Springs, California. 

                                                  Wind photo



The project is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completely online by the end of 2001.  The permits came through first on the Washington side, from the Walla Walla Regional Planning Commission, and these turbines are being built first.  The permits were granted after an intensive study of the effects and a full Environmental Impact Study.  This included thorough avian, botanical and cultural resource studies.  There was a nighttime radar study done to determine the flight pattern of birds.  It was seen that the birds flew much higher than the turbines, thus the birds were not at great risk of flying into the turbines.  There were also some complaints about view pollution, but not many people in the area voiced such a concern.  The turbines are being built in a sparsely populated area.


The Stateline Wind Generating Power Project is using 450 Vestas wind turbines with a maximum output of 300 megawatts total.  The turbines are 242 feet tall, including the blades.  Each blade is 77 feet, and the rotational diameter is 154 feet.  The turbines are controlled by electronic systems that adjust the orientation of the turbines and the pitch of the blades, based on the wind direction and speed.  The turbines can generate power at wind speeds of 7 to 56 mph.  At higher speeds, the turbines automatically shut down in order to withstand hurricane-force winds.  

The Stateline Wind Generating Project is underway.  The people in nearby communities look at this project with a favorable eye.  There was little opposition to the project, and the most commonly voiced was concern for the avian activity in the area. 



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