SPOKANE, Wash. and SAN FRANCISCO – Today, Clearway Energy Group (“Clearway”) and Avista Utilities (“Avista”) hosted a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the commencement of commercial operations for the newly-constructed 160 MW Rattlesnake Flat wind farm in central Adams County, Washington. Construction of Rattlesnake Flat began in April and consists of 57 turbines that interconnect to Avista’s transmission grid as part of a 20-year purchase power agreement between Clearway and Avista.
Leadership from Clearway and Avista were joined at the virtual ribbon-cutting by Governor Jay Inslee, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, Adams County Commissioner John Marshall, and Adams County Development Council Chair David Baumann, as well as Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy CEO Shannon Sturgil.
“Clearway is tremendously proud to complete our first wind project in Washington and to contribute to the state’s goal of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway Energy Group. “Rattlesnake Flat wind farm is an investment in clean, affordable power, jobs in the local economy, and the Evergreen State’s ongoing commitment to addressing climate change. We’re grateful for Avista’s partnership and for trusting Clearway to deliver reliable and low-cost power to their customers for decades to come.”
“We are committed to bringing clean, reliable power that’s affordable to our customers, and that’s exactly what Rattlesnake Flat is delivering,” said Avista CEO Dennis Vermillion. “This project reflects our goals as a company as we look to a clean energy future. We are proud to partner with Clearway and the entire team that came together to make this project possible.”
Rattlesnake Flat wind farm is perfectly oriented to harness the prevailing wind to deliver low-cost renewable energy to Avista’s customers, providing enough electricity to power 38,000 homes each year.
“When we passed clean energy legislation in 2019, we had projects like Rattlesnake Flat in mind,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “They have demonstrated that we can build our economy with clean energy jobs while reducing costs for customers. It is clear that climate change poses an existential threat to all of us, and projects like this one show we can rise to the challenge. Thank you to Clearway, Avista, and everyone involved in bringing the Rattlesnake Flat wind farm online.”
“At the Department of Natural Resources, I have prioritized working with innovators and energy leaders to expand clean energy and create jobs in rural communities,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz. “This project is a win for the county, workers, and the state. Built using a Project Labor Agreement – the first utility-scale renewable energy project in the state to do so since the passage of the Clean Energy Transformation Act – we are creating hundreds of good-paying, union jobs in Adams County. And, because this project is partially on public land, the revenue we generate from Clearway’s lease will directly fund local government services and school construction while also helping diversify the county’s economy. This project is a model for how we, working together, can strengthen our environment and our economy.”
During construction, Rattlesnake Flat created approximately 250 jobs, and 10 jobs will be sustained to operate and maintain the wind farm going forward. To date, the project has invested $12 million into the local economy and will invest a further $350,000 each year during operations. The project will also contribute $1.5 million in property tax revenue in its first year of operation and an annual average of approximately $700,000 each year for the next 30 years.
Blattner Energy, Inc. led the construction of the project. Additional safety measures were put in place to keep site staff safe from COVID-19. Despite the challenges posed by the virus, the project stayed on schedule.
“It was an honor to collaborate with Clearway on Rattlesnake Flat and to deliver an industry-leading project to the state of Washington,” said Ken Hilgert, COO of Blattner. “Every renewable energy project Blattner builds is done so with pride and a commitment to those communities. We share in the excitement of the outstanding efforts by everyone involved in this project.”
“We are extremely proud to have partnered with Clearway on the Rattlesnake Flat project,” said Shannon Sturgil, Onshore, North America CEO, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. “Through this project, we are not only providing clean, renewable energy for generations to come but also support U.S manufacturing with our Kansas and Iowa facilities supplying the turbines to the project.”
“Adams County is thrilled that this wind farm is completed and delivering clean renewable power to area residents,” said Adams County Commissioner John Marshall. “After years of research, planning, and cooperation, Clearway and its partners have delivered a job-creating project that’s helping to diversify our local economy and bolster the resilience of our communities.”
To help address the challenges families are facing during COVID-19, Clearway has donated to area food banks providing relief amid the coronavirus outbreak, including to the Ritzville Food Pantry, the Washtucna Food Bank, the Ralston Grange Hall, and others. Today, Clearway and Avista announced further joint donations to the Washtucna Heritage Museum and Community Center, the Adams County Fire Protection District #7, the Lind Senior Center, and the Lind Lions Club.
Today there are more than 3 GW in installed wind capacity across Washington State. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the state’s wind industry contributes more than $22.5 million in annual state and local taxes and employs around 2,000 Washingtonians.
About Clearway Energy Group:
Clearway Energy Group is accelerating the world’s transformation to a clean energy future. With more than 4.7 gigawatts of wind, solar, and energy storage assets in 25 states and a development pipeline across the country, we are offsetting the equivalent of nearly 8 million metric tons of carbon emissions for our customers. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, CA with offices in Carlsbad, CA; Scottsdale, AZ; and Houston, TX. For more information, visit clearwayenergygroup.com.
About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 395,000 customers and natural gas to 364,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.6 million. Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.myavista.com. The Avista logo is a trademark of Avista Corporation.