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RNP Press Release
March 3, 2006

New Renewable Energy in the Northwest Reaches Historic Landmark

The recent completion of four new wind energy projects puts the amount of new renewable energy serving Pacific Northwest customers at over 1,000 megawatts (MW). The new projects include: Klondike II in Sherman County, Oregon (75 MW); Hopkins Ridge in Columbia County, Washington (150 MW); Wolverine Creek in Bonneville County, Idaho (64 MW); and Judith Gap in Wheatland County, Montana (135 MW). The 1,000 MW of electricity these and other renewable projects generate is enough to power approximately 250,000 average homes in the Northwest. In addition to providing clean power from domestic resources, wind energy also creates jobs and boosts the economies of many rural counties.

“This 1,000 megawatts of wind energy is significant because it shows that our region continues to be a leader in developing renewable resources,” says Rachel Shimshak, Executive Director of Renewable Northwest , a leading renewable energy advocacy group. “Regional utilities, along with many other partners, have begun accelerating the deployment of new renewables,” she said.
“Local, state and national policymakers all recognize the importance of energy independence and our region is especially well-positioned to develop our generous endowment of renewable resources,” Shimshak added.
The American Wind Energy Association reports that there are currently 9,149 MW of wind generation capacity installed in the United States. The first modern wind project in the Northwest was the 24.5 MW Vansycle Windplant, built in Oregon in 1998.
Wind energy also boosts rural economies because the projects generate property taxes for counties and annual royalty payments for farmers and landowners with turbines on their land. According to a 2004 report from Renewable Northwest, the first 24-megawatt phase of the Klondike Wind Farm in Sherman County, Oregon added 10 percent to the county’s existing tax base in 2003.
“Wind power is strengthening this local economy,” says Troy Gagliano a Senior Policy Associate with Renewable Northwest. “Sherman County is using the new revenue from Klondike to fund schools, fire protection, road maintenance and other critical services,” Gagliano adds.
“We’re experiencing real winds of change here,” adds Judge Gary Thompson of the Sherman County Board of Commissioners. “Wind power is replacing agriculture as the largest tax base in the county.”
Currently, around 430 megawatts of new wind projects are under construction in Oregon and Washington. Throughout the region approximately 1,450 additional megawatts have received building permits.
“Energy independence is a lively topic these days. It was a major theme in the President’s recent State of the Union address and in Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski’s State of the State address last week,” says Gagliano. “Achieving 1,000-megawatts of new renewables proves that we can use renewable energy to become increasingly self-reliant. These abundant and domestic resources are ours to tap and no other nation can claim them or threaten to cut them off,” adds Gagliano.
About Renewable Northwest
Renewable Northwest is a regional nonprofit advocacy organization promoting responsible development of wind, solar and geothermal resources in the Pacific Northwest.
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For more information contact:
Rachel Shimshak
Troy Gagliano
Renewable Northwest Project
(503) 223-4544
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