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RNP Press Release
December 9, 2004

Klondike Wind Farm Invigorates Rural Economy

New Report Shows Wind Energy Supports Sherman County Budget, Landowners, & Local Jobs

Portland, OR – A leading renewable energy advocacy group today released a report detailing the economic development benefits of the 24 megawatt Klondike Wind Farm in Sherman County, Oregon. Entitled "Windfall from the Wind Farm; Sherman County, Oregon," the report illustrates the economic development benefits that local and regional businesses experienced during project planning and construction as well as the positive effect that increased property tax revenues are having on critical county services. These economic development benefits are poised to grow substantially given today’s announcement that PPM Energy is expanding the project by an additional 75 megawatts and that Portland General Electric will purchase the power that the turbines produce.

 
The Renewable Northwest Project, a regional renewable advocacy group based in Portland, wrote the report which contains the results of countless personal interviews with county officials, local landowners and business owners. "Wind energy projects can be a great economic development boon for rural counties in Oregon," said Rachel Shimshak, Director of the Renewable Northwest Project. "It is impressive that a relatively small project can have such a significant, positive effect on a community.
 
Revenue from the wind farm is helping to sustain this historically single-engine economy that is under increased stress from low wheat prices and decreasing harvests. "Wind power helps to diversify the economy. It’s another crop we can harvest and it helps fill gaps in the county budget," said Sherman County Judge Mike McArthur.
 
The amount of property tax that the county received from this project in 2002-2003 represented a 10 percent increase in the county’s total tax revenue over the previous year. These funds were used to support a variety of county services including the county general fund, schools, roads, health district, corrections and fire protection. This wind farm is expected to generate approximately $250,000 in property taxes annually over its twenty to thirty year lifetime.
 
Some farmers in Sherman County receive annual royalty payments of between $2,000 and $4,000 for each turbine sited on their property. According to Lee Kaseberg, a local wheat and wind farmer, the turbines are compatible with regular farming operations. "Put them up, we can farm around them easily," declares Kaseberg. A neighboring farmer, John Hilderbrand, adds, "The turbines make money in the winter when I can’t work my land."
 
"This is an excellent example of how wind energy development creates local jobs," said Shimshak. A variety of Oregon businesses were involved in each phase of the project. Tenneson Engineering from The Dalles provided surveying services, KC Construction from Wasco built the roads and crane pads, and Hood River Sand and Gravel supplied concrete.
 
"Increasing the amount of clean energy in our electricity mix not only helps keep our air clean, it also provides plenty of economic development benefits," Shimshak concluded.
PPM Energy owns the Klondike Wind Farm (built in 2001) which consists of sixteen wind turbines that can generate up to 24 megawatts (MW) of electricity; enough to power approximately 6,100 homes in the Pacific Northwest.
 
The report can be found on the Renewable Northwest Project web site at www.RNP.org.
 
About Renewable Northwest Project
The Renewable Northwest Project is a regional nonprofit advocacy organization promoting responsible development of wind, solar and geothermal resources in the Pacific Northwest.
 
About PPM Energy
PPM Energy is part of the ScottishPower group of companies. With a portfolio of more than 830 MW of wind power currently in operation in seven states, PPM has a goal of bringing 2,300 MW of new wind power to market by 2010.
 
# # #
For more information contact:
Rachel Shimshak
Troy Gagliano
Renewable Northwest Project
(503) 223-4544
 
 
Jan Johnson
PPM Energy
503-796-7070
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