The turbines are placed on the high open ridge tops of Whiskey Dick Mountain, which was chosen for its reliable wind conditions, remote location, and access to nearby power transmission lines. The towers are 221 feet tall. Each rotor blade is 129 feet long, with a total rotor diameter of 264 feet — larger than the wingspan of a Boeing 747.
The turbines can produce electricity with wind speeds as low as 9 mph and reach full production at 31 mph. They shut down at sustained wind speeds of 56 mph.
During my visit, the rotor blades took five seconds to complete a full rotation. There was a dramatic swooshing sound as the blades carved through the air.
The visitor center, called the Renewable Energy Center, sits on a ridge above the Kittitas Valley. From this 3,500 foot elevation you can see the entire Wild Horse Wind Farm, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Basin looking toward Moses Lake.
Weather permitting, the visitor center is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week from April through November. For more info on visiting the Wild Horse Wind Farm, see Renewable Energy Center.
Inside a Wind Turbine
Ever wondered what it's like inside a wind turbine? Join PSE's maintenance team for a climb 200' up a wind turbine.
The wind turbines at Wild Horse Wind Farm are Vestas V80 models. A high-voltage transformer is built directly into the turbine housing assembly pictured below.
Wild Horse Wind Farm Expansion
Wind power has proven to be a cost-effective and reliable power source. Dozens more wind turbines are under construction at the southern end of the wind farm, near I-90.
The next time you're driving on I-90 near Ellensburg, consider the long and windy road.