DOE Finalizes Loan Guarantee to Support World's Largest Wind Project

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced that a partial loan guarantee for a $1.3 billion loan has been finalized to support the world’s largest wind farm. The loan will finance the Caithness Shepherds Flat project, an 845-megawatt wind generation facility located in Eastern Oregon sponsored by Caithness Energy LLC and GE Energy Financial Services.

The Caithness Shepherds Flat project will use 338 GE 2.5XL wind turbines, which are designed to provide high efficiency, increased reliability and grid integration. The wind farm is the first in North America to deploy these turbines, which have been used in Europe and Asia. Once completed, the project will sell 100 percent of the power and renewable-energy credits generated to Southern California Edison under a 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements.

According to company estimates, the project will directly employ 400 workers during construction and 35 workers during operation. The company projects the wind farm will offset more than 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.

The Caithness Shepherds Flat project is the sixth Recovery Act-supported project to close and the largest to date to receive a loan guarantee under the Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP).

“Renewable-energy investments like these are creating jobs while helping to maintain America’s global competitiveness in the clean-energy economy,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “By leveraging our nation’s vast natural resources, we can help provide alternative sources of energy and stimulate economic growth and job creation.”

The DOE, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments to support 16 clean-energy projects totaling nearly $16.5 billion. Together, the 16 projects total more than 37 million megawatt-hours of capacity, which will produce enough clean energy to power more than 3.3 million homes. Additional DOE-supported projects include two of the world’s largest solar-thermal projects and a 2,200 MW nuclear power plant, which is the nation’s first in three decades.

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