The Wild Horse Wind Facility just east of Ellensburg can generate enough electricity to power 70,000 homes each year.
It also generates plenty of curiosity -- this is one of the only wind farms in the nation that lets people get close to the 220-foot turbines.
"People are just enthralled to be this close to them,” said Andrea Nesbitt, environmental education coordinator at Puget Sound Energy (PSE). “They like the sound that they make, and the views are definitely probably the first thing people notice.
PSE owns this wind farm, and they share this 10,000 acres of windy, shrub-steppe desert with all kinds of recreation seekers.
"People do a lot of hunting, hiking, horseback riding, even biking,” Nesbitt said.
The renewable energy center is free, and about 20,000 people visit every year. The dramatic landscape, with the turbines adding a visual twist, never gets old.
“This is my sixth year, and I still find myself gawking at them as I drive up the hill, and I'm always excited to get back here,” Nesbitt said.
PSE is proud of how they have harnessed clean, renewable energy.
“I look around and I like the way that the wind farm is integrated with the natural environment,” said Steve St. Clair, manager of renewable assets at PSE. “I like seeing the elk, the mule deer. I really feel like this is a nice way to co-exist the energy needs of the 21st century while still protecting the environment.”
St. Clair said PSE is a leader in green power.
"We started in 2003 before anybody else did, and that long-term vision has played out in better value for our customers and better projects for us to work in each day,” St. Clair said.
The view from the top of a wind turbine is stunning, but the views from the ground are just as spectacular.
So the next time you find yourself driving by a bunch of these behemoths, wondering what they look like up close, detour to wild horse, and watch weather work for you.
“Come visit us April through November,” Nesbitt said. “We're flexible. We'll get you on a tour -- just call ahead. The only time we'll say no is if the wind is over 40 miles an hour or there's snow or rain going sideways, so just come out and visit us.”
25901 Vantage Hwy
Ellensburg, WA 98926
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