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Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility (Washington, USA)

Credits: ©2012 Horizon Wind Energy

The Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility provides approximately 273 megawatts (MW) (as of October 2012) of affordable, pollution-free electricity to the Northwest, which is equal to the annual energy requirements of around 80,000 homes. Located near Ellensburg in Kittitas County, Washington, this facility, operated by Puget Sound Energy, has 149 turbines spanning across 10,000 acres. Wild Horse came on line in December 2006, and was expanded in 2009. One of the great things about Wild Horse is that it has a visitor center - you can drive right up to it, with spectacular up-close-and-personal views of the wind turbines. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, April through November, weather permitting. It features a conference facility with a meeting room accommodating 48 people, and a kitchen and catering facilities. Lands within the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility are also open to hunting, hiking, bird watching, horseback riding and other recreational activities by written permission only (apply for a permit online to pick up at the visitor center). Gates along the Beacon Ridge Road are open April 1 to Nov. 30, from two hours before sunrise to two hours after sunset. Wild Horse also contains the Pacific Northwest's largest solar-power array that can generate up to 500 kilowatts of electricity.


Wild Horse Wind Facility Entry

Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility near Vantage, Washington, USA, operated by Puget Sound Energy. ©2010 Robin Rogers

Location: Kittitas County, Washington
Acreage: 86,000 acres
Project Size: 230 MW
Turbines: 127 Online Date: Late 2006

The Wild Horse Wind Farm is located in central Washington's Kittitas Valley, which has long been known for its vigorous winds. The wind farm is placed on the high open ridge tops of Whiskey Dick Mountain between the towns of Kittitas and Vantage. The open rangeland is currently zoned as Forest and Range by Kittitas County. The project site was selected for its energetic wind resource and its access to several sets of power transmission lines, which have adequate capacity to allow the wind-generated power to be integrated into the power grid system.

The Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, located in Central Washington, is Puget Sound Energy's second wind-powered electric generation facility. It is also the utility's largest wind farm with 127 turbines. Wholly owned by PSE, Wild Horse has the capacity to generate up to 229 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Construction began in October 2005, and was completed in December 2006, with a 22-turbine, 44 MW expansion underway in 2009. According to the American Wind Energy Association, one megawatt of wind power capacity is equal to the electricity needs of 225 to 300 average U.S. homes.

Environmental Impact Statement
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) examines the project's purpose, need, and benefits, and the potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts of the project, providing proposed measures to avoid, minimize, or mitigate potential impacts. Environmental studies undertaken for the document examine land use, vegetative communities, wildlife, hydrology (including floodplains and wetlands), geology, and visual and cultural (historical and archaeological) resources within a study area encompassing the proposed facilities. These studies examine all generating facility components, including proposed turbine locations, electrical interconnects, access roads, and substation facilities. The DEIS for Wild Horse Wind Farm was released in August 2004.

Turbines and Towers

  • 127 wind turbine generators, spanning across 9,000 acres near Ellensburg, Washington.
  • Towers are 221 ft high at the hub, 13.2 ft wide at the base and 7.6 ft wide at the top. Towers weigh 104 tons.
  • Each turbine consists of 3-blades, each 129 ft long, 11.62 ft at the widest and 1.6 ft at the tip with each blade weighing 14,300 lbs. The rotor (blades, hub and nose cone) weighs 42 tons.
  • Turbine generators are V80-1.8 MW machines manufactured by Vestas, a Danish company. Each generator can produce 690 volts, which is stepped-up to 34,500 volts by an on-board transformer. The generator is housed inside a fiberglass "nacelle." The generator and nacelle together weigh 69 tons.
  • Total height with a blade fully extended is 351 ft and total weight is approximately 270 tons. These are the largest wind turbine generators in Washington State.
  • Each tower foundation reaches a minimum depth of 25 ft and a maximum of 32 ft depending on bedrock depth and takes an average of 100 to 260 cubic yards of concrete.
  • Each foundation requires 120 anchor bolts that span from the surface of the ground to the bottom of the foundation. A single 28 ft anchor bolt weighs approximately 150 lbs.
  • Rotors turn 15.5 rpm, turning clockwise (front view) with a rotor diameter of 264 ft, larger than a wingspan of a Boeing 747.
  • Turbines can produce electricity at wind speeds as low as 9 mph, reaching their peak of production at 31 mph and shut down at constant wind speeds of 56 mph. The prevailing winds are from the northwest.
  • Each turbine is capable of producing 1.8 megawatts, for a total facility capacity of 229 megawatts; average annual facility output of about 642,000 megawatt-hours is sufficient to serve the power needs of about 50,000 households.

Wild Horse Headquarters
25901 Vantage Highway Ellensburg, WA 98926
509-964-7809 office 509-964-7808 fax
For more information, email us at wildhorse@pse.com



  Wild Horse Wind Farm Location on Map (Washington, USA) (247 kb)

  Vestas Wind Turbines (211 kb)

  Wild Horse Wind Farm Data Sheet (Spanish) (400 kb)

  Wild Horse Wind Farm Data Sheet (Chinese) (437 kb)

  Wild Horse Wind Farm Data Sheet (English) (457 kb)