Regulators have cleared Apple’s Oregon wind power project to use the biggest turbines ever deployed in the Pacific Northwest, reports the Portland Business Journal.
Project developer Avangrid Renewables said it hasn’t made a final decision on the machines it will use at the Montague Wind Power Facility, but regulators last week granted a site-certificate amendment that allows for turbines with rotor diameters of 136 meters and generating capacities of 3.6 megawatts. The biggest turbines in the region now top out around 100 to 110 meters in rotor diameter and 2.5 megawatts in generating capacity.
Longer blades give turbines a greater “swept area,” increasing energy capture for each watt of installed capacity. According to the Portland Business Journal this translates to power production at closer to full capacity on a more consistent basis. The longer blades are becoming more commonly used in the industry, especially at sites with low-to-medium wind speeds.
Apple expects 560,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually from its portion of the wind farm. That’s equal to the electricity usage of about 52,000 Oregon households. Apple has solar farms, hydroelectric plants and biogas facilities in Oregon, North Carolina, California, Nevada and Arizona.