Overlooking the mighty Columbia River, nestled among the dry wheat fields of Bickleton, WA, a new type of crop is thriving. This crop does not require rain and sun but it does require a strong wind to sustain its growth.
In 2006 the state of Washington passed “Initiative I-937”, which mandates that electric utilities with over 25,000 members must obtain 15 percent of its power from renewable resources. In December, 2009, PenLight with its partners Cowlitz PUD, Lakeview Power & Light, and Eugene Water & Electric Board, energized a wind-powered renewable energy project. The project helps meet about 50 percent of the PenLight’s renewable energy requirement. The forty-three 2.3 megawatt wind turbines are located 4 miles north of Roosevelt, and 21 miles east of Goldendale, in Klickitat County, Washington. The 6,700 acre site is wind-swept agricultural land that is primarily used for dry wheat farming and livestock grazing.
In order to construct the system, 15 miles of new roads were built and modifications to 4 miles of existing trails and roads were made in order to move the giant wind machines to their new home. The turbines are mounted atop towers that are 262 feet tall. The rotor blades are 295 feet in diameter. These turbines’ combined output is 98.9 Megawatts, equal to providing renewable power for over 23,000 homes!