Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has announced that the first phase of the Lower Snake River Wind Facility has begun commercial operation.
The 343 MW wind farm, which comprises 149 Siemens wind turbines, spans 21,600 acres in western Garfield County, in the southeastern part of Washington state. According to PSE, the project will provide enough energy to power approximately 100,000 homes.
PSE began construction of the Lower Snake River Wind Facility in May 2010 with the help of lead contractor Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc., wind turbine manufacturer Siemens Energy and several subcontractors.
Approximately 25 permanent employees from PSE and Siemens Energy now operate the facility and maintain its wind turbines. They are based out of PSE's new operations and maintenance center in Pomeroy.
The wind facility's power output ties into the Northwest electric grid at the Bonneville Power Administration's newly completed Central Ferry substation, constructed along the wind farm's northern boundary. Lower Snake River power moves across BPA transmission lines to reach PSE's distribution system.
"BPA recently put in service another large substation on our transmission system to make sure the energy from this project can begin its journey to Northwest customers," notes Brian Silverstein, senior vice president at BPA Transmission Services. "The substation is one of several facilities built to interconnect wind with the electric grid and will play a vital role in meeting the region's current and future energy needs.’