Location: Gilliam, Morrow Counties, OR
Eligibility: 1705 (FIPP)
In December 2010, the Department of Energy issued a $1.3 billion partial loan guarantee to finance the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845 MW wind-powered electrical generating facility located in eastern Oregon. Shepherds Flat, which commenced operations in September 2012, is one of the world’s largest wind farms.
The DOE guarantee was issued under the Financial Institution Partnership Program. The project uses commercial turbine technology that is new to the U.S., but is largely identical to earlier models that already have proven successful in many commercial projects worldwide and had recorded nearly 1.4 million operating hours. By supporting initiatives like the Shepherds Flat Project, the Department of Energy is fighting climate change, while encouraging the U.S. economy’s green energy manufacturing base through the U.S. manufacture of many of the wind turbine components for the project.
The project directly created 400 construction jobs, in addition to 35 permanent jobs for the facility’s operation. This is a boon to the local economy and still allows ranchers to use the surrounding land just as they have for generations.
Each year the wind farm will eliminate over one million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to the emissions of approximately 223,000 vehicles. In addition to its environmental benefits, Shepherds Flat will enhance Oregon’s economy—the wind farm’s estimated production of two billion kWh annually will have an estimated annual economic impact of $16 million for the state.