Boston's First Wind breaks ground on Washington wind farm

Boston's First Wind broke ground on the Palouse Wind project this week.

Boston's First Wind broke ground on the Palouse Wind project this week.

Boston-based independent wind energy company First Wind on May 1 started construction on its first wind project in Washington state, the 105 megawatt Palouse Wind in northern Whitman County that will create renewable energy for up to 30,000 homes.

The project will use 58 Vestas wind turbines sited between State Route 195 and the town of Oakesdale. Once complete, the Palouse Wind project will be the largest renewable energy facility in the county, according to First Wind. Initial stages of construction work began in October 2011 and shortly thereafter First Wind secured $210 million in construction financing. Construction is expected to be completed by November and the project will be online and operating by the end of this year, the company said.

“In addition to representing a major source of clean energy for years to come, we are also making a major investment in the economic future of the region with $30 million of direct spending planned during construction and an additional $1.5 million each year once the project achieves commercial operations,” First Wind’s CEO Paul Gaynor said in a statement. The project is expected to create about 150 jobs during construction.

Washington-based utility company Avista Corp. will buy the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project and take delivery of the power through a direct interconnect to its Benewah-to-Shawnee transmission line.

Read more in Mass High Tech.

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