Apple approved to build largest wind turbines in Oregon - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Distributed Generation, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  July 31, 2017

Apple approved for largest wind turbines in Oregon

Apple was cleared by state regulators July 20 to use the biggest wind turbines ever installed in the Pacific Northwest for its Montague Wind Power Project.

The tech giant will be allowed to install 3.6-MW turbines at its newest wind farm operation in Oregon through the developers of the project, Avangrid Renewables, with rotor diameters measuring 136 meters.

“The biggest turbines in the region now top out around 100 to 110 meters in rotor diameter and 2.5 megawatts of generating capacity,” the Portland Business Journal reported.

Apple expects to receive 560,000 MWh of power annually from the wind farm once it is fully operational, expected before the end of 2018. The company first signed a PPA for the Montague Wind Power Project in April.

Construction must begin by Sept. 14, according to the Portland Business Journal report.

The developers haven’t decided exactly which turbines to use at the facility but can proceed with the scaling approved in the site-certificate amendment.

“Longer blades give turbines a greater ‘swept area,’ increasing energy capture for each watt of installed capacity,” according to the Portland Business Journal. “That translates to power production at closer to full capacity on a more consistent basis.”

As part of the approval, Oregon’s Energy Facility Siting Council consulted with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to make sure the large turbine blades wouldn’t be a risk for birds and migrating bats and that the blade tip clearance with the ground wouldn’t disrupt low flying birds.

The wind farm is being planned alongside another Apple project in Oregon, a 56-MW solar array that it also signed a PPA for in April, expected to generate 140 million kWh yearly. The electricity from both projects will be used to support Apple's Prineville, Ore., data center.

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