Nine Canyon Wind Project
For more information:
P.O. Box 968
Richland, WA 99352-0968
Nine Canyon Wind Project has expanded! Phase III of the project added 14 turbines, increasing the project capacity by 32 megawatts for a total project capacity of 95.9 MW. Construction began in September 2007, and all Phase III turbines were erected by December 2007. Benton PUD built the electrical interconnection to the Bonneville Power Administration’s grid. The new turbines are now generating clean, renewable power for the region. The power output of the Phase III project is provided to several of the existing public utility district participants.
Wind energy is a clean, renewable source of electricity, and the Nine Canyon site is an excellent location for strong, sustained winds. The environmentally friendly project is located on a dry-land wheat farm owned and operated by two families. The project received a letter of support from the Lower Columbia Basin Chapter of the Audubon Society.
Nine Canyon Wind Project, located near Kennewick, Washington, is one of the largest public power owned wind projects in the nation. It consists of 63 turbines, driven by the wind. Each three-blade turbine consists of a tubular steel tower and three giant turbine blades attached to a rotor, and a nacelle which houses a generator, gear box, and braking mechanisms.
Each turbine is self-starting and begins generating electricity when wind speed reaches 8 m.p.h. Generation increases as the wind speed increases, with full power achieved at about 35 m.p.h. Once the rotor begins to rotate, it turns at a constant speed. If the wind exceeds a sustained speed of 55 m.p.h., the turbines shut themselves down automatically, first by pitching the blades against the wind. When the blades have almost stopped rotating, a large disc brake is engaged to bring them to a complete and safe stop. The pitch of the blades is also used to improve power generation control.
The 63 turbines are placed in four rows, along the windiest ridges on the site. Although the project lease covers 5,120 acres of land, only 47 acres are actually taken up by turbines, access roads, and a maintenance building. The project lease guarantees the landowners an annual income for the life of the project.
Energy Northwest financed the construction of Phase I of the project with a $70 million tax-exempt bond issue, completed in November 2001. Construction of Phase I was completed on time and within budget, and the project began commercial operation on September 25, 2002.
Once Nine Canyon Wind Project began commercial operation, project participants expressed interest in additional wind power development. Enough interest was generated to begin an expansion phase at Nine Canyon.
In April 2003, the Energy Northwest Board of Directors approved construction of Phase II, based on power purchase contracts signed by five of the eight participants in Nine Canyon. Construction began in mid-May, and was completed, with all 12 of the new turbines in commercial operation at the end of December 2003. Financing for Phase II was obtained through a $21.7 million bond sale. The expansion added 12 turbines and 15.6 megawatts of capacity to Nine Canyon Wind Project.
In September of 2007, construction for Phase III, the final Nine Canyon phase began. Phase III is now complete and commercial operation is expected to be declared in Spring 2008.
Benton County PUD built the electrical substation at the site, along with the transmission lines that tie the project into the existing Bonneville Power Administration transmission system.
Nine Canyon Wind Project now consists of 63 turbines with a total generating capacity of 95.9 megawatts.
|Generating Capacity:||95.9 megawatts (net)|
|Location:||Southeast of Kennewick, WA|
|Site Size:||75 acres|
First Electricity Produced:
|Construction Started:||May 2003|
|First Electricity Produced:||September 2003|
|Commercial Operation:||December 2003|
|Construction Started:||September 2007|
|First Electricity Produced:||December 2007|
|Commercial Operation:||Spring 2008|