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General Electric wins $1.4 billion to supply largest wind farm in U.S.

General Electric wins $1.4 billion to supply largest wind farm in U.S.

Posting in Energy

Power company Caithness Energy has awarded General Electric with a $1.4 billion contract to supply wind turbines and 10 years of maintenance for an Oregon wind farm, GE announced Thursday.

New York-based power company Caithness Energy has awarded General Electric with a $1.4 billion contract to supply wind turbines and 10 years of maintenance for the largest wind farm in the United States, GE announced Thursday.

The 845-megawatt wind farm, named Shepherds Flat and located in Arlington, Oregon, will span approximately 30 square miles and cover parts of Gilliam and Morrow counties.

GE said it will supply 338 models of its 2.5-megawatt wind turbine for installation between 2011 and 2012. It will be the first installation of these models in the U.S., the company said.

"When completed, it will be larger than any wind farm currently in operation around the globe," GE said in a statement.

The arms race is quickly mounting for the title of largest wind farm in the U.S. Texas announced plans in July to host two 750-megawatt offshore wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shepherds Flat has been contracted to provide to power utility Southern California Edison, and is predicted to generate 2 billion kilowatt-hours per year -- enough to supply 235,000 households annually, according to GE.

But Caithness Energy predicts the project will cost $2 billion to build, which includes necessary improvements to area roads and equipment to connect to the power grid.

The companies estimate that 400 workers will be hired for construction of the wind farm, which is scheduled for completion in 2012. Thirty-five  full-time workers are expected to operate the wind farm.

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure