Wind power in Oregon

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Wind turbines in eastern Oregon

The U.S. state of Oregon has large wind energy resources. Many projects have been completed, most of them in rural Eastern Oregon and near the Columbia River Gorge. Wind power accounted for 12.1% of the electricity generated in Oregon in 2016.[1]

Legislative actions[edit]

Laws passed by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1999 and 2007 have aimed to encourage both small and large wind projects. Oregon passed a net metering law in 1999 that helped encourage installation of small wind power systems.[2] As of 2008, a handful of Oregonians have installed small-scale wind-power systems to reduce their carbon footprint.[3]

Under Senate Bill 838, wind, solar, geothermal and other types of renewable power must account for 25 percent of an electric utility's retail sales by 2025. Intermediate requirements set the standard at 5 percent by 2011, climbing gradually until 2025.[4]

In 2016, Oregon's RPS requirement target was raised to 50%, as two companies must supply 50% of Oregon's power as renewable by 2040.[5] The US Energy Information Administration expects this to increase windpower in Oregon, as older hydropower is exported to California and not eligible for the RPS.[6]


Vestas, the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world as of 2009, has its North American headquarters in Portland.[7][8] Iberdrola Renovables, one of the larger wind farm operators, also bases their American offices in Portland.


2002 image from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showing Oregon's estimated wind power resources


Estimates from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory showed that Oregon has potential to install over 27,000 megawatts of onshore wind power.[9] The offshore wind potential is estimated at 225,000 MW, and would be capable of generating 962,723 million kWh.[10]

Installed growth[edit]

Installed wind power capacity in Oregon saw large growth from 2007 to 2012. Oregon ranks among the top ten states with the most wind power installed. Climbing from 1 percent in the early 2000s (decade), wind power accounted for 12.4 percent of total electricity generated in Oregon during 2013.[11][12]

In 2009, 691 MW of wind-powered capacity was added in Oregon, the fourth biggest increase in the U.S. that year.[13]

Notable projects[edit]

Oregon Wind Generation
Gigawatthours (Million kWh)[14][15][16]
Large wind farms in Oregon
Station Location Capacity (MW) Notes
Shepherds Flat Wind Farm Gilliam and Morrow Counties 845 [17]
Biglow Canyon Wind Farm Sherman County 450 [18]
Klondike Wind Farm Sherman County 399 [18][19]
Vansycle Wind Project Umatilla County 124 [18]
Stateline Wind Project Umatilla County 123 [18]

In 2009 GE Wind Energy was awarded a $1.48 billion contract to build the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm.[20] The 845-megawatt project uses over 300 turbines and spans across 30 square miles (78 km2) of Gilliam and Morrow Counties in north-central Oregon.[21] When it was completed in September 2012, it became the largest wind farm in Oregon, and the second largest in the world, although many larger ones are planned. It was completed in 2012 to take advantage of the 2.2 cent/kWh Production Tax Credit.[22][23]


About four gigawatts of new wind energy development in Eastern Oregon and Washington has not been built due to the interference it could cause with aviation radar. The radar in Fossil was upgraded in June 2015 to stop "radar clutter" caused by nearby wind farms.[24]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oregon Wind Energy" (PDF). U.S. Wind Energy State Facts. American Wind Energy Association. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  2. ^ Oregon Wind Activities
  3. ^ Tims, Dana (June 22, 2009). "Oregon farmer cuts costs with wind power". The Seattle Post Intelligencer.
  4. ^ Kinsey-Hill, Gail (April 11, 2007). "Power bill glides through Senate". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon.
  5. ^ Oregon Senate Bill 1547
  6. ^ "Higher Oregon renewable portfolio standard targets likely to boost wind power". US Energy Information Administration. April 26, 2016. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Williams, Christina (July 21, 2010). "Vestas lands record turbine order". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  8. ^ Schreyer, Andreas (July 23, 2010). "Vestas Breaks U.S. Wind Market Lull". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  9. ^ National Renewable Energy Laboratory (February 4, 2010). "State wind energy potential (2010)". U.S. Department of Energy. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  10. ^ Renewable Energy Technical Potential
  11. ^ Preusch, Matthew (October 29, 2009). "Wind energy's success creates a power grid challenge". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  12. ^ "American wind power reaches major power generation milestones in 2013". American Wind Energy Association. March 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Preusch, Matthew (January 30, 2010). "Oregon fourth among states for new wind capacity". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  14. ^ "Generation Annual". U.S. Department of Energy. July 10, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2012.
  15. ^ EIA electricity data browser
  16. ^ Wind Energy in Oregon
  17. ^ "World's largest wind farm coming to Oregon". Retrieved January 16, 2010.
  18. ^ a b c d Staff (July 2010). "U.S. Wind Energy Projects - Oregon". American Wind Energy Association. Retrieved July 28, 2010.
  19. ^ "U.S. Wind Energy Projects". American Wind Energy Association. September 30, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2009.
  20. ^ Brown, Tim (December 15, 2009). "General Electric lands $1.4 billion contract to build wind farm in Oregon". The Oregonian. Portland, Oregon. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  21. ^ Galbraith, Kate (December 10, 2009). "$1.4 Billion Oregon Wind Deal Announced". New York Times blog. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  22. ^ Google Invests $100 Million In Oregon Wind Farm
  23. ^ Shepherds Flat wind farm fully operational in US with 845MW
  24. ^ George Plaven (June 11, 2015). "Radar upgrade in Fossil to lessen conflict with proposed wind farms". East Oregonian. Retrieved 2015-06-14. [FAA] says they've developed a radar upgrade ... that will minimize conflict with proposed wind farms. ... the outdated radar was holding back nearly 4,000 megawatts of new wind energy development in Eastern Oregon and Washington.
  25. ^ "Wind Powering America: Installed U.S. Wind Capacity and Wind Project Locations". U.S. Department of Energy. February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
  26. ^ Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (August 12, 2015). "Installed Wind Capacity". United States Department of Energy. Archived from the original on August 26, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  27. ^ AWEA 4th quarter 2011 Market Report, American Wind Energy Association, January 2011
  28. ^ Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (April 3, 2019). "U.S. Installed and Potential Wind Power Capacity and Generation". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved April 3, 2019.
  29. ^ Wind Energy in Oregon
  30. ^ EIA (December 20, 2013). "Electric Power Monthly". United States Department of Energy. Retrieved December 29, 2018.

External links[edit]