Oregon Wind Farm is a Community Affair
The name PáTu, meaning snowfields, comes from Native America legends surrounding Mt. Adams, a majestic snow covered peak north of Wasco Oregon. The land was home to the ancient Wasco and Yakama tribes who believed the snowfields were the source of all life and energy. Pa´Tu continues its legacy of being a source of energy through Pa’Tu Wind Farm, which produces 27,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
Pa´Tu Wind Farm is owned and operated by brothers Ormand and Jeff Hilderbrand, on land their family has farmed since the late 1800s. Such local ownership and control is uncommon in the renewable energy business, as it is much more typical to have corporate investment. And for owner Ormand keeping things local is a point of pride for himself and his community. “When I finally turn a profit, I will invest it here because this is my home,” said Hilderbrand, a 1969 Sherman High School graduate. “I plan to build a house, buy vehicles from local dealers, and employ local workers.”
There is a place for all size wind farms
Hilderbrand believes “both large and small projects are important for Oregon’s future.” Both sizes create jobs but the smaller, independently owned projects keep more money in the local economy. Pa’Tu employs 4 fulltime employees which are supported by 5-8 part time employees and is also responsible for over $300,000 in revenue being added to the local community each year[i].
Pa´Tu’s six General Electric wind turbines convert strong eastern Oregon winds into enough electricity, enough to power over 2200 homes. The turbines are a pragmatic choice having been designed to create the highest capacity factor in its class as well as ensure reliability through ease of maintenance and high commonality in spare parts.