The Department of Energy (DOE) last week announced a conditional commitment to provide a partial guarantee for a $1.3 billion loan to the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, an 845-MW wind farm planned for eastern Oregon that it is calling “the world’s largest wind farm.”
The project will consist of 338 GE 2.5 xl wind turbines, making the farm the first in North America to deploy them (the turbines have been used in Europe and Asia). Once completed, the project will sell 100% of the power generated to Southern California Edison through 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements.
According to the DOE, the Caithness Shepherds Flat project is the largest to date to receive an offer of a conditional commitment for a loan guarantee under the agency’s Financial Institution Partnership Program (FIPP), which is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a FIPP financing, the DOE guarantees up to 80% of a loan provided to a renewable energy project by qualified financial institutions.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement that the guarantee would help the Obama administration achieve targets to double renewable energy in the U.S. by 2012. Through its loans programs office, the DOE has so far offered $15.9 billion in loan guarantees to support renewable projects.