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State OK’s world’s largest wind farm

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Monday, September 01, 2008

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ARLINGTON State energy officials have approved a plan that would make Gilliam and Morrow counties in northeastern Oregon home to the world’s largest wind farm.

The Shepherds Flat wind farm’s 303 wind turbines will be capable of producing 909 megawatts, or enough electricity to power upward of 225,000 homes, doubling the state’s current output of wind farm electricity, according to Oregon Department of Energy assistant director Diana Enright.

Shepherds Flat also will provide an economic boost to the rural Oregon counties. It is expected to employ 250 to 300 people during its construction, and create 25 permanent jobs once operational, says Enright.

“The most beneficial aspect of the wind farm will be the property tax it provides,” says Gilliam County Judge Patricia Shaw. The project is to be developed on private land about five miles southeast of Arlington. The annual lease payments to landowners will also help supplement farm income, according to the energy department.

Caithness Shepherds Flat LLC of Sacramento is developing the project. Enright says she is unsure when the wind farm would be operational, but added that Caithness has two years to construct under its site certificate.

CHRIS MILLER


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