Shepherds Flat, one of world's biggest wind farms, up and running in Oregon

Shepherds Flat, a $2 billion wind farm that is among the world's largest, is now up and running in northeastern Oregon, its developer said Saturday.

New York-based Caithness Energy said the 845-megawatt project stretching across the northern reaches of Gilliam and Morrow counties, has commenced producing power, drawing kudos from Gov. John Kithzaber and Oregon's congressional delegation.

"The completion of Caithness Shepherds Flat is an excellent example of how Oregon can attract significant investments in the building blocks of the future economy, showcasing our state as a key player in new economic growth and resilience," Kitzhaber said in a news release.

Caithness said it employed more than 400 workers during construction and the wind farm will maintain a full-time staff of 45 workers.

The electricity produced by the wind farm will be sold to Southern California Edison, a Rosemead, Calif.-based utility, as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement. In producing 2 billion kilowatt-hours per year, Sheperds Flat will have an estimated annual economic impact of $37 million for Oregon.

Tech giant Google Inc. last year invested $100 million in Shepherds Flat as part of a $500 million funding round for the project that also included Tyr Energy and Sumitomo Corp. of America. It was also one of the first clean energy projects to make use of the U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee program.

"The opening of Caithness Shepherds Flat, one of the world's largest wind farms, demonstrates that we can deploy renewable energy at scale with the help of private capital," Rick Needham, Google's director of energy and sustainability, said in a news release. "We're proud to have supported this project and we hope our involvement, and that of our partners, attracts more investors to this sector."

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