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Oregon to get groundbreaking large-scale wind/solar/storage facility

A new energy facility in eastern Oregon will be the first of its kind in the U.S., combining wind power, solar power, and battery storage on a large-scale.

Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy Resources announced plans for the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility today. The new facility will combine 300 megawatts of wind generation, 50 MW of solar generation, and 30 MW/120 MWh of battery storage.

NextEra plans to break ground this year. The wind component of the facility, powered by 120 turbines, is expected to be fully completed by December 2020. Construction of the solar and battery components is set for 2021.

The Morrow County-based facility will be capable of powering 100,000 homes, and will allow Portland General Electric to reach roughly 50 percent of all its customers’ power needs with emissions-free generation. PGE also released a short promotional video:

A Breakthrough

The Wheatridge facility marks a first for the country, but it will also top a number of lists in Oregon. It will be both the largest solar farm and largest battery storage facility in the state. It will also be one of the largest battery storage facilities in the U.S.

As expected, the announcement came with a number of statements from those involved with the project. NextEra president and CEO Armando Pimentel said,

“This venture will allow PGE’s customers to benefit from more renewable energy over more hours of the day and create substantial economic value for the communities that host this project, many of whom stand to benefit for years to come.”

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D) has a history of supporting clean energy initiatives, including introducing the Clean Energy for America Act in 2017. (Oregon is also a member of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which recently gained another member.) Wyden said of the new facility,

“Portland General Electric’s decision to join with NextEra Energy Resources in constructing the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility provides both a well-earned economic boost to Eastern Oregon and an important step on our country’s needed path to green energy.”

PGE will own 100 MW of the wind project, while a NextEra subsidiary will own the rest of the project, selling its output to PGE under 30-year power purchase agreements. PGE expects to invest $160 million in the project. The announcement notes all parts of the project will qualify for federal tax credits.

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