The first phase of the Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility, located in Morrow County, Ore., started commercial operations on Dec. 7 when Portland General Electric began receiving power from the 300 MW wind farm associated with the project, the utility and NextEra Energy Resource announced.

When complete, the facility will be one of the first large-scale energy facilities in the U.S. to combine wind, solar and battery storage at a single location. The 50 MW solar and 30 MW battery components are expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

PGE owns a 100 MW slice of the wind project, and is buying the remaining balance of the project under a 30-year power purchase agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, which is also building and will operate the triple-threat renewable energy facility.

The utility said it expects to invest approximately $155 million for its portion of the project.

Wheatridge's wind farm generates power using 120 wind turbines manufactured by GE Renewable Energy, using a mix of 2.3 MW and 2.5 MW machines. Final selection of the specific equipment to be used at the associated solar farm and battery storage facility is still pending, the companies said in a news release.

A new transmission line, built by the Umatilla Electric Cooperative, connects the facility to BPA's network of transmission lines to deliver the power to PGE customers.

The addition of the Wheatridge wind farm puts PGE's wind portfolio at more than 1 GW, and when complete, the solar and battery storage facilities will be among the largest in Oregon.

"Customers want and expect cleaner, greener energy sources," Maria Pope, PGE president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. "This is an exciting step toward completion of this important resource and adds to our growing wind generation portfolio. We deeply appreciate the partnerships that make the Wheatridge project possible, with NextEra and with the transmission services teams at the Bonneville Power Administration and Umatilla Electric Cooperative."

Editor - Clearing Up

Steve began covering energy policy and resource development in the Pacific Northwest in 1999. He’s been editor of Clearing Up since 2003, and has been a fellow at the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources and University of Texas.