Construction started at Washington wind farm

Major construction has started at the first wind farm in the Avista service territory in Washington State.

First Wind is the developer of the 105-MW Palouse Wind facility in Whitman County. The project is the first wind facility in Washington for Boston-based First Wind.                                                                                       

Project construction will include the installation of 58 Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines between State Route 195 and the town of Oakesdale. Construction of the project is expected to be completed by November and it will be online and operating by the end of the year.

Avista will purchase the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project under a 30-year power purchase agreement. This will be the first wind project built in Avista’s service territory and it will help it meet Washington’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

“The power from Palouse Wind will be part of a diverse, responsible energy portfolio that includes renewable resources generated right here in our community,” said Avista Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris.  “Palouse Wind will help Avista meet its goal of providing reliable energy to our customers at a reasonable cost, while meeting renewable portfolio standards.”

Washington’s RPS gradually increases over time, with utilities required to obtain 9% of their energy use from renewables in 2016. The power purchased from Palouse Wind is expected to satisfy Avista’s RPS requirements for 2016.

During construction, it is estimated that the project will create about 150 jobs and will result in $30 million of spending with local businesses in Whitman County and the Inland Northwest. 

Turbine deliveries are expected in the next month.  In May 2011, First Wind received a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Palouse Wind. Initial stages of construction work began in October 2011 and shortly thereafter First Wind secured $210 million in construction financing.  The project is expected to be online and operational before the end of 2012.