The expansion, which brings the total number of turbines at the Dayton, Columbia County facility to 87, is another step for the utility and the region toward a sustainable energy future.
Wind power and southeastern Washington are a great team, said Kimberly Harris, executive vice president and chief resource officer for PSE. Hopkins Ridge is both a valuable contributor to meeting renewable energy needs, and to the local economy and tax base in Dayton and Columbia County.
Hopkins Ridge began operation in November 2005 with 83 wind turbines capable of producing 150 megawatts (MW) of electricity. With the four new 1.8 MW turbines fully operational yesterday, Aug. 6, total capacity at the facility rises to 157 MW, or the energy equivalent of that required to serve more than 40,000 homes.
In addition to the four new wind turbines, PSE also recently updated the aviation warning lights at Hopkins Ridge. An improved array of only 19 lights has replaced an initial design of 44 lights, and the lights have also been synchronized with the adjacent Marengo wind facility.
Overall, Hopkins Ridge has generated more than 1 million megawatt hours (MWh) since beginning commercial operation less than three years ago, and had a significant positive impact on the local economy. The facility employs five full-time PSE staff, with additional personnel from vendors and suppliers also on site. Along with creating jobs in the community, Hopkins Ridge has expanded the local tax base, paying more than $1.7 million in total local and county taxes since entering operation.
Production royalties to landowners with wind turbines located on their property have also benefitted the areas economy.
Dayton is a historic community, but is also pointing the way to energy independence and a future of clean, renewable energy, said Harris. Hopkins Ridge is a new chapter in the areas pioneer legacy, bringing a new source of economic vitality that is compatible with agriculture and the traditional family farm.