(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that the U.S Department of Energy has awarded $28.6 million to Puget Sound Energy for the utility’s expansion of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility in Kittitas County, Washington. The grant, which the utility will use to lower the cost of energy for its 1.1 million residential and business electric customers, was awarded as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) stimulus funding.
“Washington state is already a national leader in clean-energy, and this grant will allow Puget Sound Energy to continue investing and creating jobs in this critical industry,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This investment will not only help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it will also help Washington state remain at the forefront of the growing clean-energy economy.”
The Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, located 15 miles east of Ellensburg in Central Washington, first entered service in 2006 with 127 wind turbines capable of generating 229 megawatts (MW) of electricity, or enough power to serve approximately 60,000 average U.S. homes.
The $100 million 2009 expansion project added 22 wind turbines with a capacity of 44 MW to wind facility, or the equivalent of an additional 10,000 average U.S. homes’ energy needs. More than 150 workers were needed to complete the construction project, with 35 permanent maintenance and operations jobs being directly created by the wind facility, as well as indirect employment for contractors, vendors and other service providers.
As a senior member of the Senate committee overseeing Energy funding, Senator Murray worked to ensure that investments in energy technology were included in the Recovery Act. Senator Murray voted to pass the Recovery Act on February 13th, 2009. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009.