Oregon makes a bold move to integrate renewables and smart grid tech


US utilities Portland General Electric and NextEra Energy have announced the development of the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility.

The renewable energy facility will be constructed in eastern Oregon as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and ensure energy security.

The facility will integrate 300MW of wind generation, 50MW of solar capacity and a 30MW battery energy storage system.

The project will be the largest in Oregon and will help the state in its transition to become clean energy reliant and provide consumers with affordable electricity.

The renewable energy facility is claimed to be the first of this scale in North America to co-locate and integrate wind, solar and battery technologies.

GE Renewable Energy will provide 120 wind turbines for the renewable energy farm.

Some 300 jobs will be created during construction of the wind site and up to 175 jobs during construction of the solar and storage sites. Approximately 10 full-time employees will operate the combined facilities once they’re commissioned for service.

PGE is investing $160 million in the project to own 100MW of the wind capacity, enough to power some 340,000 homes.

NextEra Energy has signed a 30 year power purchase agreement to sell the electricity generated from the rest of the project to PGE.

The project is expected to be complete by 2021, with the wind facility set for opening by December 2021.

The project will get co-funding from the federal investment tax credit to reduce total costs.

The renewable energy facility will increase PGE’s clean energy portfolio to 50% of total energy produced.

Maria Pope, PGE president, said: “We’re moving aggressively to integrate smart grid technologies and renewable energy to give customers affordable, clean, low-carbon energy.

“Wheatridge will be a model for integrating renewable generation and storage to cost-effectively reduce emissions while maintaining a reliable grid.”

US Senator Ron Wyden, added: “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.”

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.