Avangrid and Amazon have signed a new power purchase agreement for Amazon to source renewable energy from an Avangrid wind farm in Gilliam County, Oregon, which will reportedly produce enough energy to power 22,800 homes each year.
The agreement will extend the life of the Leaning Juniper IIA wind farm, which commenced operations in 2011. The site consists of 43 wind turbines and will generate 98.4 megawatts of clean energy, and the repowering project will support 200 jobs during construction.
“Amazon is excited to announce our first utility-scale renewable energy project in Oregon,” said Abhishek Sharma, head of energy strategy for Amazon Web Services. “The project adds to the 2 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity Amazon has already enabled across the western U.S. grid. This has contributed to Amazon being the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy for four years running, and will help Amazon remain on a path to utilizing 100% renewable energy for the electricity powering its operations by 2025.”
Amazon currently has more than 500 solar and wind projects around the world, enough to power about 7.2 million homes in the United States annually. This year, the company is also investing in its first brownfield project in Maryland, where a closed coal mine will be converted into a solar farm.
Repowering Wind Farms Increases Productivity While Lowering Costs
Wind turbines tend to operate for about 20 to 30 years, depending on technology available at the time of installation. While new wind developments are an important piece of adding renewables to the grid, the Department of Energy has also found great potential in repowering existing wind sites.
As wind turbine technology improves and becomes more efficient, new turbines may be installed in existing spaces, resulting in a greater overall power output for the site. According to WindEurope, repowering cuts the number of turbines needed on a given wind farm site by about a quarter and triples electricity generation.
Further, repowering has been found to save on costs compared to new greenfield developments, especially as they use existing grid connections and infrastructure. Original wind sites have also been built in areas already identified as generating large amounts of wind, so repowering may take advantage of areas most ideal for wind energy development rather than selling and converting the land for other uses.