Wheatridge Wind seeking Oregon approval for 500-MW project

The Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council, which is part of the state Department of Energy, is in the early stages of reviewing an application for two inter-related wind farms with a total of 500 MW of capacity to be located in Morrow and Umatilla counties.

Wheatridge Wind Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Swaggart Wind Power LLC, proposes to construct and operate a wind generation facility comprised of three principal components: Wheatridge West; Wheatridge East; and an intraconnection corridor connecting the two.

Said the council’s website: “Applicant submitted its preliminary application on Dec. 19, 2014. The department determined the application incomplete in February 2015 and is currently reviewing the applicant’s responses to the department’s request for additional information.”

Wheatridge West is to be located entirely within Morrow County, approximately seven miles northwest of Heppner. Wheatridge East is located approximately 16 miles northeast of Heppner and will span Morrow County and Umatilla County. The project site boundary, including the intraconnection, spans approximately 13,097 acres – all on private property.

The intraconnection corridor connecting the two parts of the project would contain up to two parallel overhead 230-kV transmission lines, each no longer than 35 miles in length. Other project components include access roads, an electrical collection and control system, the project’s substations, operations and maintenance buildings (O&M Buildings), and temporary construction yards.

In order to allow flexibility in the choice of wind turbines at the time of construction, Wheatridge said in its December 2014 application that it has analyzed impacts for two layouts using two different turbine models, while limiting the total generating capacity to 500 MW. This approach would allow Wheatridge to select the most appropriate turbine model available at the time the turbines are acquired. This flexibility is required because turbine manufacturers offer new turbine models with improved technology and retire older models every one to two years.

  • Turbine layout Option 1 utilizes 292 1.7-MW General Electric turbines with 80-meter (262-foot) hub heights and 103-meter (337-foot) rotor diameters.
  • Turbine layout Option 2 utilizes 200 2.5-MW GE turbines with 85-meter (278-foot) hub heights and 120-meter (393-foot) rotor diameters.

Wheatridge seeks micro-siting flexibility within the site in regard to the final layouts for both the studied GE 1.7-103 layout and GE 2.5-120 layout and any turbine model whose impacts are less than or equal to these two studied layouts and their associated facilities.

Wheatridge anticipates that the project will connect to the Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) transmission system via overhead 230-kV transmission lines to be owned by either Umatilla Electric Cooperative (UEC) or UEC in partnership with the Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative (CB), but operated by BPA. These line(s) will be permitted by UEC and/or CB separately from the Wheatridge Project.

Swaggart Wind Power, the parent of Wheatridge Wind, is a joint venture between Leprechaun Holdings LLC, a local development company founded by a landowner from Ione, Oregon, and three investment funds managed by MAP Royalty Inc. Swaggart owns 100% of the interests in Wheatridge, which was formed to secure the real estate rights, permits, and interconnection rights necessary to construct and operate a wind energy facility within the project footprint.

A developer contact is: Andrew O’Connell, President, Wheatridge Wind Energy LLC, P.O. Box 133, 245 W. Main Street, Suite 200, Ione, Oregon 97843, andrew@diversifiedwinds.com, (541) 422-7552.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.