The United States has steadily outsourced record-breaking feats of engineering over the years, or stood by as other countries have eagerly grasped trophies for the world’s tallest building, biggest dam, longest bridge, or what have you.
Which is why it is comforting to learn a World’s [ ]est is staying in America: Caithness Energy will begin construction next year in Oregon on the world’s biggest wind farm, with 845 MW of capacity.
The Shepherd’s Flat wind farm will utilize 338 of General Electric‘s next-generation 2.5 MW turbines (its 1.5 MW model is the world’s most popular, with 12,000 in use) spread out across 30 square miles of terrain just south of the Columbia River in north-central Oregon. The farm is predicted to generate about 2 billion kilowatt-hours per year, enough power for 235,000 homes.
Jobs for Oregon, MegaWatts for California
The $2 billion project will generate about 400 jobs during construction, and 35 running the farm, according to New York-based Caithness. General Electric will also provide ten years of maintenance for its turbines as part of its $1.4 billion contract.
Oregon has aggressively pursued renewable energy development, offering a 50 percent tax credit to offset capital costs. Caithness says it already has a “majority” of the permits needed for the farm, a crucial factor, according to USA Today.
The Shepherd’s Flat area is known for another type of renewable energy: hydropower, which is so abundant and cheap in the area that electrons from the wind farm won’t be able to compete, according to EarthandIndustry. Instead, that juice will be funneled to Southern California, where Southern California Edison has agreed to buy it for the next twenty years. SCE is racing to meet a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard of 33 percent by 2020.