More wind turbine parts on their way

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POMEROY -- The Lower Snake River Wind Project is the destination for 22 wind turbine nacelles and hubs shipped by rail from Siemens' new assembly facility in Hutchinson, Kan., on Wednesday.

The inaugural shipment will be combined with blades from Siemens' Fort Madison, Iowa, wind turbine blade manufacturing facility and towers for installation.

Phase I of the Lower Snake River Wind Project is Puget Sound Energy's third and largest wind power facility.

When completed in 2012, the new 343-megawatt facility will produce enough electricity to power more than 100,000 households and boost PSE's wind-power generating capacity to 773 megawatts.

The Hutchinson facility was opened in December. Currently 200 people are employed at the 300,000-square-foot plant. When the factory is fully operational, it is expected to employ 400 people. Siemen's wind turbine blade factory in Iowa employs approximately 700 people.

Travelers on U.S. Highway 12 are familiar with the wind turbine components that have been en route to the Lower Snake River project since mid-March. Approximately 1,350 tractor-trailer oversize/overweight "superloads" originate in Vancouver and Pasco, traveling through Walla Walla, Columbia and Garfield counties.

The 149 Lower Snake River turbines are rated at 2.3 megawatts, compared to the 87 1.8 megawatt turbines on PSE's Hopkins Ridge project in Columbia County.

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