In Morrow County, Oregon, construction is well underway on the wind portion of one of NextEra Energy Resources’ first trifecta renewable energy projects. The future Wheatridge Renewable Energy Facility combines wind, solar and battery energy storage technology in one location.
“This cutting-edge project is exciting for NextEra Energy Resources and our customer Portland General Electric (PGE),” said David Lawlor, director of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “Our Wheatridge facility will serve as a model for future projects as we continue to develop projects that couple a combination of wind or solar generation with battery energy storage.”
The wind component encompasses up to 300 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity produced by approximately 120 General Electric wind turbines. It is the first stage of the project being built with a targeted commercial operation date of later this year. A second stage will follow with the construction of the project’s solar and battery energy storage components, which are both expected to be complete in 2021.
David further explained our project integrates one of the first direct current (DC) battery energy storage systems to be used by NextEra Energy Resources and in the United States. In the past, most systems have used alternating current (AC) coupled electricity, but DC coupled electricity is gaining traction for its increased efficiency. AC flows back and forth several times before it is converted and flows to the grid. Whereas, solar systems produce DC electricity and battery systems store DC, so DC is only converted once.
“The landowners participating in our project and the local community are pleased to have us as a neighbor and committed community partner,” said NextEra Energy Resources' project manager of development Keleigh Wright, who was temporarily relocated to Oregon during the pandemic to continue to build strong relationships in the area. “They recognize the significant economic investment our project brings to their community and trust our company.”
Once the trifecta is complete, PGE will have 1,000 MW of contracted wind capacity, in part generated by our facility and PGE’s other resources, to serve to its customers. In addition, the project will help our customer diversify its energy portfolio, meet the state’s renewable energy goals and combat climate change.