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Rick Needham (center) with partners Arielle Bertman and Matthew Stepka at the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm  (Source: The Official Google Blog)
Google has invested $100 million in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Arlington, Oregon

Aside from running the successful Android operating system and the world's most popular search engine, Google has been making some environmentally conscious efforts as well. Just last week, the web giant invested $168 million in the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System located in the Mojave Desert in California.

Now, Google is investing $100 million in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Arlington, Oregon. It will be joining this project with Caithness Energy, which is the project developer, and GE, an early investor and turbine manufacturer as well as an operations and maintenance supplier. Other investors include Tyr Energy and Sumitomo Corporation of America

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is still under construction, but is expected to be the largest wind farm in the world. Once completed, it will produce 845 megawatts of energy, which can power over 235,000 homes. 

"This project is exciting to us not only because of its size and scale, but also because it uses advanced technology," said Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations for Google in The Official Google Blog. "This will be the first commercial wind farm in the U.S. to deploy, at scale, turbines that use permanent magnet generators - tech-speak for evolutionary turbine technology that will improve efficiency, reliability and grid connection capabilities. Though the technology has been installed outside the U.S., it's an important, incremental step in lowering the cost of wind energy over the long term in the U.S."

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is expected to help benefit Oregon economically, and will also help California meet its renewable energy goals. In addition, the electricity generated at the wind farm will be sold to Southern California Edison under "long term agreements." 

The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm will be completed in 2012. 


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RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By Iaiken on 4/19/2011 1:10:26 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
move them off shore where the wind blows more consistently and they are not a threat to wildlife and farming.


Yeah, because the constant vibrations they transmit into the water through their foundations during operation won't harm sea life... nope... not at all.

The very case you are making is just a transference of an recognized drawback on land, to a recognized drawback over water that you were apparently unaware of. Sustained low frequency vibration (sound) in water has been shown to cause fish distress and robs them of one of their most important organs for detecting prey/predators, their lateral lines, by effectively leavening them in the cacophony.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By Iaiken on 4/19/2011 1:12:01 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
leavening


Apparently my new auto-correct for chrome hates me.

This was supposed to read "deafening" though it's pretty funny the way it reads now...


By Kiffberet on 4/20/2011 10:44:43 AM , Rating: 2
There are other reports proposing that underwater structures (like oil rigs, sunken ships etc) provide a massive boost to marine life. Building Hundreds of offshore wind turbines would be much more efficient, due to the additional wind, but also create 'reserves' for fish to live.


RE: onshore wind is deadly and doesnt make sense
By kattanna on 4/19/2011 4:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sustained low frequency vibration (sound) in water has been shown to cause fish distress and robs them of one of their most important organs for detecting prey/predators, their lateral lines, by effectively leavening them in the cacophony.


i'd be most interested in reading more on that, do you have any links?


By Iaiken on 4/20/2011 9:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
Reading on the subject can be found at:

http://www.subacoustech.com/information/publicatio...

The largest impact is from the noise from driving piles. This is loud enough to maim (effectively deafen) fish out to a distance of 500 meters. This is also ucomfortable enough that marine life will abandon/avoid the area to a distance of 15 km.

Operational noise is a mixed bag. The closer you are to shore, the smaller the apparent impact is because of the increase in background noise from waves. However, the noise inside the immediate area of the turbines (50m radius) can exceed the comfort zones of marine life and cause them to abandon the area surrounding the turbine itself.

Lastly, there is still an unknown impact to seabirds still being studied.


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