Wind energy is a rapidly
growing source of renewable energy in the United States.
Wind energy is captured when blowing wind moves turbine blades around a rotor, which turns a shaft that spins an electricity-producing generator.
Wind in Oregon
Oregon’s wind energy
industry has developed mainly on the Columbia
River Plateau in north central Oregon. Wind farms have also cropped up in eastern Oregon near Milton-Freewater and North Powder.
Through the first quarter of 2017, Oregon ranked 8th in the nation in installed wind capacity with 3,213 megawatts. (American Wind Energy Association)
Oregon’s wind generation
capacity has grown thanks to development of large-scale wind farms that supply
power directly to the electric grid. 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.
Developing wind projects 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.