Getting Palouse Wind Up and Running

Getting Palouse Wind Up and Running

Getting Palouse Wind Up and Running. I’m Greg Martin as Line On Agriculture presents the Harvest Clean Energy Report.

Wind projects are starting to pop up all around the world and there is more and more interest in this clean energy especially when it comes to the farming community. Ben Fairbanks is the Director of Business Development with Firstwind and he discusses the Palouse Wind Project.

FAIRBANKS: It started out with a couple of different land owners where we put up a meteorological tower to test the wind. Over time the project has grown and we have almost 25 landowners involved in the Palouse Wind Project.

Firstwind is an American owned wind energy only company that operates wind farms around the country. The Palouse Wind Project is the first in the northwest and Fairbanks talks about their end goal.

FAIRBANKS: The end goal is to build the first wind energy facility and for that matter the first energy facility in Whitman County, a project that would be around 65 towers and generate about 100 to 200 megawatts of wind. The goal is to work through the permitting process this spring and be able to start construction towards the end of 2011.

He talks about the economic impact of the project for the people of the area.

FAIRBANKS: This would be a pretty large investment in Whitman County. A wind farm of 100 to 200 megawatts is really around $150 to $200-million dollar investment. A lot of that is in turbines but a lot of that investment is obviously in the construction and materials and equipment that we would source locally. So we’re estimating that som,windewhere around $ 50-million is going to be local investment.

Approximately 160 construction jobs and then between 8 and 15 full time operators once the project is up and running. Fairbanks talks about the attitude of landowners.

FAIRBANKS: Some of the general themes that I hear is wind energy is a way to diversify somebody’s land portfolio and provide some supplementary income during volatile prices in the ag industry. They also feel it’s a way to keep the farm being a farm. There’s a lot of pressure as prices go up, it’s harder to keep property so this is another way to keep the land in the family and not have to feel like you’re subdividing it off.

For additional information on clean energy, visit That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.???

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