Wind Power in Oregon
• Total MW Capacity in Oregon: 3,415 MW
• Facilities in Oregon (1.65 to 290 MW): 46 (3 under construction)
• Total Generation (2018): 7,447,442 MWh
• Total Consumption (2018): 2,396,878 MWh
• Total Exports (2018): 5,050,564 MWh
Wind energy is captured when blowing wind moves turbine blades around a rotor, which turns a shaft that spins a generator and transforms mechanical energy into electricity.
Offshore wind turbines
use the same principle, but are sited off the coast where
wind resources tend to be stronger and more constant.
Oregon's Wind Industry
Onshore wind is the second-largest zero carbon-emitting
electricity resource in Oregon next to hydropower. Wind
power makes up 11.6 percent of Oregon’s electricity
generation and 4.69 percent of Oregon’s energy
consumption. Oregon's wind capacity has grown substantially since construction of the state’s first
wind facility in 2001. With 3,415 MW of wind generation, Oregon is ninth nationally in terms of overall
wind capacity and third among the 14 U.S. states in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.
Most of Oregon’s wind generation capacity comes mainly from large-scale wind projects that supply power directly to the electric grid. As of October 1, 2020, there are 46 existing wind farms and four state jurisdictional facilities under
construction in Oregon totaling an additional 894 MW, with an additional 550 MW of wind projects
approved or in review.
Some facility owners are choosing to upgrade older wind projects with new, larger turbines and longer blades to increase generation output - a process known as repowering.
Learn more about wind power in Oregon in our Biennial Energy Report.
The state also has smaller-scale wind
projects, including several community-owned projects consisting of a few
mid-sized or large turbines, and numerous installations of small turbines
that generate power on-site for homes and businesses. The industry for
small turbines is less developed than the large, utility-scale wind industry.
With the increase of the
Oregon Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent renewable energy by 2040, more wind projects will
likely be built in the state by independent developers and utilities.
Wind Project Development
Developing a wind project is a complex process, particularly due to grid interconnection and transmission access issues. New utility-scale wind projects in Oregon will likely require significant transmission
system investments. Small wind projects (<20 MW) have less impact on
transmission, but require complex system studies that may result in the need for
expensive upgrades to the local grid.