Leading Lines | Klondike Wind Farm

Time to leave the leading lines on I-84. Our adventure will take us down Route 206 through an area of Eastern Oregon that we have not yet explored. Before we turn, a clue for what is to come escapes our attention.

Wavy amber lines lead the eye as far as it can see through newly harvested wheat fields. At one time, this was the staple economy for this region of the state.

Times are changing. Leading lines etched by farmers’ combine machinery are disrupted. Fields are disturbed by new blacktop lanes as they carve through grain fields. Networks of service roads lead the way to a new economy… wind generated energy.

These lane lines lead to the largest town in Sherman County-  Wasco, Oregon. An example of a place that has economically benefited as a result of wind power development.

Sherman County, Oregon, has seen huge increases in revenues from local wind farms. Before
the wind energy industry came to town, this rural community had few employment opportunities and a small tax base. Since installing a swath of power-producing wind turbines, the county has reaped impressive benefits, including increases in per capita income and the local tax base.

Cut from American Wind Farms; page 26

These leading lines plow straight into the reason for the county’s brighter economic future. A crop of 242 wind turbines, each rising more than 380 feet above the tallest shafts of wheat, catch abundant winds to generate about 400 megawatts of renewable energy on the Klondike project.

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that each megawatt of wind power provides enough energy to light up 300 average American homes each year.

These leading lines are powerful for their value in creating interesting photo opportunities and clean energy.

Wind fuels the 321-megawatt Klondike Wind Farm located four miles southeast of Wasco, as well as the 450-megawatt Biglow Canyon Wind Farm just to the north. The first three phases of the Klondike project, owned by Iberdrola Renewables, use 44 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines and 146 GE 1.5 MW wind turbines. These wind farms supply clean, renewable electricity to Portland General Electric, Bonneville Power Administration, Eugene Water & Electric Board, and other power companies region wide.

(Cut from: Wind Power- Sherman County )

Submitted for the Lens-Artist photo challenge #80 |Leading Lines

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  1. Very pleasing lines, Jane! Well done! I love the colours in all of them, but in wavy amber they are wonderful, and the last one with the beautiful clouds too. We have many wind mills here in Sweden, and you get used to them. Love them because they leave no pollution. But, birds sometimes fly into them and scientists have showed that cows should not be grazing right beneath them. I don’t remember why now, but that was found many years ago.

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this collection! I watched an interview done with one of the farmers who has the wind turbines in his fields. It made me smile when he said he liked looking out his farm house window to see them turning. He thought it is a beautiful sight. There are requirements here for monitoring wildlife kills caused by the wind turbines. By comparison to other power sources, I think they are a much better technology. I am curious about the cow concerns… that’s fascinating.

      1. Interesting it is – and I prefer wind turbines to other sources too. When the debate was high here in Sweden, scientists found that the milk production of cows was lesser and in the long run, the electromagnetic fields might cause defects on the embryos. But I don’t know if research has proved it now. For wild animals, it seems the sound is disturbing as the animals rely on communicating with sounds themselves. The lights are also disturbing – wild animals avoid lights. I will have to look further into it. Anyway, I do believe nature on the whole will benefit from less air pollution –

        1. Thanks for the insights. Always worth weighing the benefits versus the detriments. Wind certainly seems a better choice than fossil fuels, dams, or nuclear…

  2. I’ve driven highway 95 through eastern Oregon on a trip to Bosie (some time after National Geographic did a story on the desolation of Eastern Oregon). At the time they were repaving the highway and I stopped at one of the Porta Potties for my daughter. It was the cleanest one I have ever seen.

      1. I always enjoy driving in Oregon knowing the rest areas are clean. This was actually on a trailer and I assumed it was for the road crew. I recall seeing very few cars and guessed that they were clean from lack of use.

  3. I’m all for wind turbines, Jane. I find them aesthetically pleasing. Much better looking than a coal-fired power station. The agrarian landscape itself changed vast swathes of countryside, so it is not as though the visitor or the resident is viewing a pristine landscape. If this cleaner energy can lead to a better outcome for our planet, and farmers and local communities also benefit economically, then that is a win-win for everyone in my opinion.

    1. Tracy, you make an excellent points in support of wind turbines. You are correct about the economical aspect. Where these turbines are placed does provide much needed income for the local ranchers and county government.

  4. My favorite shot is the third one. While I get the pluses of wind turbines, I don’t really enjoy seeing them. But that’s just me. Your photos are all lovely and as Tina said, it’s always nice to see a post from you.


    1. Thank you, Janet. Yes, wind turbines will take some getting used to. The turbines in the grain fields I didn’t mind because they seemed to be somewhat orderly in how they are placed in the landscape. The ones in the I-84 photo bother me because they detract from the magnificence of the Columbia River Gorge. While we were on the trip I did find myself either working them in or finding a way around them. I know I’m totally opposed to any off shore!!

    1. Thank you. Tina. It was fortunate that the weather was perfect for taking these photos. I think the leading lines would have dulled had there been no clouds. We were startled to find all the wind turbines. Didn’t expect so many.

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