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Contact Debbie Caudle
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Wind Turbine blades

ECE Students Tour of Renewable Energy Facilities

On May 23, 2010, a group of ECE undergraduate and graduate students and Professor Herbert Hess traveled to Klickitat County for two days to tour two separate energy facilities, the White Creek Wind Project and the H.W. Hill Landfill Gas Power Plant.

The White Creek Wind Project in Klickitat County in Washington was developed by the Cowlitz and Klickitat PUDs, Lakeview Light and Power, and the Tanner Electric Co-op. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, White Creek is the largest public power initiated wind project in the United States, and is located on the Washington side of the Columbia across from Arlington, OR.

Recently, Washington and Oregon passed renewable energy laws, and the White Creek project was developed to help meet those requirements. The project is expected to provide an agreed-upon portion of the renewable energy requirements in both states by 2012 for certain public utility districts.

Students received permission, with proper safety precautions, to climb up one of the 89 turbine towers, each of which is 263 feet tall and boasts 150 foot-long turbine blades.

The students also visited the H.W. Hill Landfill Gas Power Plant (a gas-to-energy plant), which is named after the grandfather of Kyle Bennett, the ECE graduate student who had arranged for this trip. This plant captures methane gas produced by the Roosevelt Regional Landfill (the largest landfill in the region), transfers it by a pipe system to equipment to compress it and filter out impurities, and is cooled in another process. The resulting clean and cooled gas is used to run generators, with engines modified to run on methane. These generators will produce 2.1 megawatts of electricity, or 50,000 kilowatt hours per day. A substation then transforms the power and delivers it to the PUD's transmission system.