Oregon council gets draft approval order for 500-MW Wheatridge Wind project

The Oregon Department of Energy, which provides the staff for the Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC), has issued a proposed order on the 500-MW Wheatridge Wind Energy Facility.

The Aug. 5 proposed order recommends that the EFSC approve the application and grant a Site Certificate, subject to the conditions in the order.

The proposed facility would consist of up to 292 wind turbines divided into two groups: Wheatridge West and Wheatridge East. Related and supporting facilities include: up to two parallel overhead 230‐kV transmission lines connecting Wheatridge West and Wheatridge East (intraconnection transmission line); 34.5‐kV collector lines and substations; meteorological towers; communications and supervisory control and data acquisition systems; operations and maintenance buildings; access roads; temporary construction areas; and temporary concrete batch plants.

The Wheatridge Wind Energy Facility is proposed to be located within Morrow and Umatilla counties.

Following issuance of this Aug. 5 proposed order, the council must conduct a contested case proceeding on the application for site certificate. The deadline to request party status or limited party status in this matter is Aug. 26. For those eligible to participate in the contested case, a pre‐hearing conference will be held by telephone on Sept. 23, unless rescheduled by the hearing’s officer. Following the pre‐hearing conference, the hearing officer will determine the schedule for the contested case hearing.

The applicant is Wheatridge Wind Energy LLC, a wholly‐owned subsidiary of Swaggart Wind Power LLC. The department received the preliminary application for the Site Certificate in December 2014.

Wheatridge West would be located entirely within Morrow County, bisected by Oregon Highway 207, approximately five miles northeast of Lexington and approximately seven miles northwest of Heppner. Wheatridge East would be located approximately 16 miles northeast of Heppner and includes land in both Morrow and Umatilla counties. Wheatridge West and Wheatridge East would be connected via 230 kV transmission line or “intraconnection” transmission line, proposed as a related and supporting facility to the energy facility. The site boundary for the intraconnection transmission line includes a 1,000 foot wide, up to 32‐mile corridor.

The proposed facility consists of up to 292 turbines with a combined peak generating capacity of up to 500 MW. The applicant analyzed impacts for two different turbine models; therefore, the actual nameplate capacity depends on the turbine model selected and the number of turbines constructed. Selected turbines would range from 1.7 to 2.5 MW, with rotor diameters ranging from 337 to 393 feet and blades between 167 and 197 feet in length.

The applicant proposes four routing options for the intraconnection transmission line:

  • Option 1: Two Project Substations to Longhorn. This option would run from Substation 3 in Wheatridge East to Substation 1 in Wheatridge West and then to the proposed Umatilla Electric Cooperative/Columbia Basin Electric Cooperative Strawberry substation, just to the west of Wheatridge West, for interconnection to a UEC or UEC/CB-operated Gen‐tie Line to the proposed Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) Longhorn substation. The intraconnection line route would be 31.5 miles (50.5 kilometers) in length.
  • Option 2: Three Project Substations to Longhorn. This option would run from Substation 3 in Wheatridge East to Substation 2b in Wheatridge West, then on to Substation 2a in Wheatridge West, and then to the proposed UEC/CB Strawberry substation, just west of Wheatridge West, for interconnection to a UEC or UEC/CB-operated Gen‐tie Line to the proposed BPA Longhorn substation. The intraconnection line route would be 31.3 miles (50.3 25 kilometers) in length.
  • Option 3: Two Project Substations to Stanfield. This option would run from Substation 1 in Wheatridge West to Substation 3 in Wheatridge East for interconnection to a UEC-operated Gen‐tie Line to the proposed BPA Stanfield substation. The intraconnection line route would be 24.5 miles (39.4 kilometers) in length.
  • Option 4: Three Project Substations to Stanfield. This option would run from Substation 2a in Wheatridge West to Substation 2b in Wheatridge West, and then to Substation 3 in Wheatridge East for interconnection to a UEC-operated Gen‐tie Line to the proposed BPA Stanfield substation. The intraconnection line route would be 27.8 miles (44.7 kilometers) in length.
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.