Savings & Energy Center » Green Power » Program Resources » Resource Information »

Lime Wind

Workers at Lime Wind carry part of turbine blade.Workers at Lime Wind carry part of turbine blade.

Workers at Lime Wind carry part of turbine blade.

Lime Wind, a family-owned and operated 3 megawatt (MW) wind farm in Eastern Oregon, is a great example of how renewable energy purchases are driving rural economic development in the Pacific Northwest.

Being an energy entrepreneur takes a lot of long hours, teamwork, flexibility and persistence. It often means being the first to try new ways of doing things. These are lessons Randy Joseph, a woodworker and founder of Joseph Millworks, learned when he set out to build a wind farm in his community. He never imagined it would take five years to turn his dream into a reality. Spurred by concerns about the Enron crisis, climate change, and the need for community development, he wanted to find a better way to produce energy on a more local level.

The six turbines that now sit perched on a ridge in Baker County, OR, might look simple compared to some of the larger, industrial wind farms. But they generate enough power for 800 homes and represent a project that cost $7.2 million to develop. Cobbling together the right combination of grants, tax incentives, investments and power purchase agreements can be tricky, especially when you're trying to move ahead during a nationwide recession.

None of these challenges stopped Joseph. In addition, the whole family pitched in. His daughter worked on Lime Wind's environmental impact statements, his middle son worked on project financing, and his youngest son attended crane and wind technician schools. They decided to purchase rebuilt turbines, which helped keep costs affordable and made their project even greener by reusing resources.

The project was made more attractive to investors due to the additional income stream coming from Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). "The sale of RECs from our project made the financing possible and showed our other partners that the project was viable," noted Joseph. These RECs are resold to PSE's Green Power customers, making each participant in the program a supporter of the Lime Wind project.

After years of work and bringing on 37 different organizations as partners, Lime Wind became operational at the end of 2011. According to Bonneville Environmental Foundation, one of Lime Wind's partners, small-scale projects like Randy's have 3.5 times the economic benefit for local communities because the owners are local and their dollars stay local, too.