Rattlesnake Flat, Washington. – In the early 1900s Adams County was known as the “breadbasket of the world” because of the abundance of wheat and other grains grown on the smoothly rolling hills in this southeastern Washington County.
Today, Adams County remains an agricultural powerhouse populated by farming families who’ve called areas like McElroy Coulee home for generations. But if you drive just 15 miles south of Ritzville you will find a very modern development: 57 new wind turbines spin in the always blowing wind on a long flat ridge that cuts through wheat country – this is the Rattlesnake Flat Wind Farm.
It is the first green energy project developed in accordance with Washington State’s Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA). The CETA applies to all electric utilities that serve retail customers in the state and establishes a plan for reaching 100 percent clean electricity supply by 2045.
The wind farm churns out 50 average megawatts or enough power to supply 38,000 homes each year. The farm was built by Clearway Energy Group in partnership with Avista who facilitated the project by purchasing the power that is generated over the next 20 years. The addition of Rattlesnake Flat Wind Farm doubles Avista’s wind power generation, while moving closer to their green energy goals and keeping costs affordable.
“Adams County is thrilled that this wind farm is completed and delivering clean renewable power to area residents,” said Adams County Commissioner John Marshall, at the virtual ribbon cutting in December. “After years of research, planning, and cooperation, Clearway and its partners have delivered a job-creating project that is helping to diversify our local economy and bolster the resilience of our communities.”
The wind farm brought about $12 million in local spending to Adams County, and created more than 250 local jobs. According to Clearway, the wind farm wills sustain at least 10 full-time, family-wage paying jobs for technicians and maintenance crews.
Avista and Clearway Energy Group, both made generous donations to many Adams County non-profits including the Washtucna Heritage Museum and Community Center, the Adams County Fire Protection District #7, the Lind Senior Center and the Lind Lions Club.
“Clearway is tremendously proud to complete our first wind project in Washington,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway Energy Group, during the virtual ribbon cutting. He added that he is grateful for the partnership with Avista. “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.”