Notes from Windward: #67


The Big Horn Wind Power Project

     Yesterday, the 'terns and I headed towards the east end of our county to attend the dedication of the Big Horn Wind Power Project, a 200 megawatt installation that will provide enough electricity for 60,000 homes.


     The winds that blow through the Columbia River Gorge have long made this area famous as a site for world class wind surfing--and it's great to see our rural county emerging as a world class wind power producer, too.

     After the dedication we got to go inside the base of one of the huge towers that support the wind turbines, and to view the equipment that monitors the performance of each unit. Lots of impressive stuff--it's great to see how far wind power has come. I was especially pleased to get a chance to talk with some of the principals and to get some answers to some of the more technical questions involved. For example, the electricity generate here is being sold to towns in northern California, and that there's about a seven percent loss in transmitting electrical power over that distance--something I knew in principal, but it was nice to get actually numbers from the people who are doing the work.


     We have a 100' self-erecting tower that we'll use to generate energy from the wind at some point down the road, but we'll probably defer that until someone joins the team who has a key interest in wind power--which, for new readers of these Notes, is how many of our strategic decisions get made. We work on the systems that interest the current crew confident that each new system will enhance our overall sustainability. Whereas most folks tend to think of progress as a linear process, we've come to see it as an ever-growing spiral in which each new system that's woven into the fabric of our community helps make us stronger, more self-reliant and more sustainable.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 67