The Shepherds Flat project, billed as one of the biggest on-shore wind farms in the world, came online Saturday. Helped along by a $100 million investment from Google last year, the installation is capable of generating up to 845 MW of wind energy. According to Oregon officials and developer Caithness Energy, the wind farm will eliminate 1.483 million metric tons of CO2 annually.

Located near Arlington, Ore., the project consists of 300-plus wind turbines staggered over 30 square miles in the eastern part of the state. Construction of the Shepherds Flat wind farm began in 2009, and despite controversy over funding and a delay by the Air Force, progressed fairly quickly for a project of such size. The installation has a 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison, and was one of the first to use the U.S. Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program.

Besides producing an estimated 2 billion kWh each year, Shepherds Flat is expected to have an annual economic impact of $37 million for the state. Sustainable Business Oregon reports that New York-based Caithness Energy employed more than 400 people to develop and will employ another 45 full-time workers.

In 2007, the state legislature created a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) that requires the largest utilities in Oregon to provide 25 percent of their retail sales of electricity from newer, clean, renewable sources of energy by 2025. In addition to wind and solar energy, a recent survey shows that Oregonians strongly favor the development of tidal power resources as well. Ocean Power Technologies plans to deploy at 150-kilowatt “PowerBuoy” off the coast near Reedsport.

Photo credit: Loco Steve/Flickr