Harnessing energy from both the wind and the sun, 22 new wind turbines are being installed at the Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility.
Once the $100 million expansion project is complete, a total of 149 turbines with a generating capacity of around 273 megawatts will be on site. That’s enough power to serve about 60,000 households. The turbines stand about 351 feet tall from the ground to the tip.
Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility
The Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, located on Whiskey Dick Mountain in Washington, takes advantage of the strong winds and plentiful sunshine. In 2008, PSE purchased 960 acres of undeveloped land, located next to the 9,150-acre Wild Horse site, for the expansion. PSE included a conservation easement, preserving about 7,000 acres of threatened shrub-steppe habitat. More than 1,000 cacti and 6,000 sagebrush plugs were also planted in the location. A 500 kilowatt solar project, one of the largest in the Pacific Northwest, is also included on the site.
Renewable Energy Center
Wild Horse Wind and Solar also includes a 5,000-square-foot visitor’s center, called the Renewable Energy Center, where visitors get an up-close-and-personal look at solar and wind technology and learn about the history of the area. More than 30,000 visitors have stopped by the Renewable Energy Center since it opened on April 1, 2008. The LEED-certified building, constructed from glass and clear-fir, provides an incredible 360-degree view. Less than 3 hours from Seattle, the Center is open from April through November and tours are also available.
Providing clean and renewable energy to the area, the project also benefits the community and economy in other ways as well. 25 full-time jobs and about 150 temporary jobs have been created. With thousands of people visiting the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, tourism has also increased, helping the economy.
PSE has a second wind farm, Hopkins Ridge Wind Facility, which contains 83 turbines.
Photo courtesy of Bodeh via Creative Commons
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