Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility and Renewable Energy Center
The Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility and Renewable Energy Center is located 16 miles east of Ellensburg in central Washington.
The wind turbines at Wild Horse can generate up to 273 megawatts (MW) of electricity. The solar array, one of the Northwest's largest, can generate up to 502 kilowatts of electricity. Puget Sound Energy’s Renewable Energy Center offers a first-hand look at how these elements are turned into electricity.
The Renewable Energy Center
The wind and sun of Kittitas County are a tremendous natural resource for producing clean, renewable energy. Set high on a ridge, the Renewable Energy Center provides visitors with an up-close look at the facility’s 149 wind turbines, as well as 360 degree views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood and the Columbia River Basin.
Take a tour, or explore the educational displays to learn more about wind and solar technology, as well as the area's unique natural history. Outdoor trails lead to a solar array, blade, turbine generator, gearbox and additional displays.
Open April-October 31st, 9:00-5:00pm
From April through November, self-guided tour packets for the outside exhibits are available via email or in the box near the front door.
From December through March, the Wild Horse Wind Facility is closed to all public access. Recreational access with an Access Permit will resume April 1st.
Weather permitting, free guided tours depart daily, from April through October 31, from the Renewable Energy Center at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No reservation is needed for these tours. To schedule a separate group tour of Wild Horse, please call 509-964-7815.
Join us for a 60 minute walking tour that explores the solar array, wind turbine blade, turbine generator and gearbox, and lets you look inside the base of an active wind turbine!
- Closed-toed shoes are REQUIRED.
- The tour covers a 1/2 mile on gravel trails. Tour participants with mobility issues can arrange vehicle access to the base of the turbine.
- Dress for the weather. Wind speeds average 17 mph and it is typically cooler on the ridge.
- All participants must sign a liability form. Minors must have the liability form signed by a parent or guardian to participate in the tour.
- Tours can be canceled or modified at any time due to inclement weather, high winds or any unsafe conditions.
Presentations are available by appointment. The presentation covers renewable technology, economics, construction and siting, and takes 45 - 60 minutes.
The center features a conference facility with a meeting room accommodating 48 people. This area is used for wind and solar presentations to visiting schools, businesses and community groups. It can also be reserved for meetings and retreats. Large events such as weddings cannot be accommodated.
For more details, please read our Wild Horse Conference Room Amenities.
2023 Renewable Energy Center Events
Wild and Whiskey History Tour
Join us as we explore the history of the Wild Horse Wind Facility on Whiskey Dick Mountain. Old wagon trails, encampments, moonshiners, and plane crashes, this ridge is rich in history to explore!
Sat. June 17th
9:15 - 10 a.m. Wind 101 Presentation 10 - 11 a.m. Wind Turbine Tour 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. History Tour with stops at Whiskey Dick Mountain, Wild Horse Spring, and the Pines.
- RSVP Required: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with party size.
- What to expect: Dress for hot weather and a few short hikes. Pack snacks, water, etc. You will drive your own vehicle on gravel roads to each tour stop.
- Plan on stopping by the Kittitas County Historical Museum in Ellensburg after your tour to learn more about local history, WWII, airway beacons, homesteaders, and more.
- The Wanapum Heritage Center: The center is intended to protect preserve and perpetuate the culture traditions and identity of the Wanapum of Priest Rapids. It is located along the banks of the Columbia River, near Priest Rapids Dam, on the ancestral grounds of the Wanapum.
Recycled Glass Mosaics
Help support the Ellensburg Glass Recycling Cooperative by making your own piece of recycled glass art! Mosaics are fun and easy. Glue recycled glass on to a picture frame, tile, rock, or other decorative item. We will provide the glass, and a few options for the base of your mosaic, or you can bring your own!
Sat. July 1st
10am-11am Wind Turbine Tour 11a.m.-1p.m. Create Your Glass Mosaic
- RSVP Required: Email email@example.com or call 509-964-7815. Suggested Donation: $15
- What to expect:We will provide safety glasses and a few pairs of leather gloves for working with the glass (some is not tumbled), but if you have your own gloves, please bring them.
- In 2021 Ellensburg Glass Recycling Cooperative (EGRC) crushed 28.5 tons of glass bottles into sand, as well as creating sea glass, earrings, and other upcycled products. Because Kittitas County no longer recycles glass, the EGRC has prevented tons of glass from ending up in the landfill. Volunteers run the glass crushing operation, and donations are used to maintain the equipment and keep the operation running!
Wild Horse Kid’s Corral
Join us all summer long as we learn about wild weather and the world around us!
Sat. July 8th: Bend the Air! Shape the wind around you.
Create a weather vane and use a real anemometer to measure the wind at Wild Horse. Where would you build your wind turbine?
- Sat. July 22nd: Basalt Rocks! Learn about lava flows, and paint your own.
Where did the lava flows near Ellensburg come from? Why does it form such weird shapes? Follow ancient lava flows at Wild Horse, then pick out a piece of basalt to paint!
- Sat. August 5th: Do You Hear What I Hear? Sounds of the Shrub Steppe.
Use a decibel meter to measure sounds, then record and draw what you hear!
- Sat. August 19th: Sensor Says! Turbines Track the Wind.
Turbines turn their noses to the wind! Play a game to follow the wind like turbines do, and build your own model.
1:00 p.m. Learn and create during the Kid’s Corral session. 2:00 p.m. Go inside of a wind turbine on a guided tour!
- RSVP Required: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 509-964-7815.
- What to expect: Closed toe shoes and a signed liability form are required for tour.
Perseid Meteor Shower
Looking for a laid back location to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower? Come on out to the Renewable Energy Center for an evening of twilight turbine tours, kid's activities, and star gazing.
- August 12th
7:00 p.m. Doors open 7:30 - 8:45 p.m. Kid's activities 7:30 p.m. Twilight Tour 8:00 p.m. Twilight Tour 9:00 p.m. Lights Out - Stargazing 11 p.m. / 12 a,m.* Close up building
*Closing time will be dependent on staff availability. We have to return to work the next morning to open the visitor center.
What to expect:
- Please arrive no later than 9pm and park with your headlights facing away from the building.
- Bring a chair and blankets and stake out a spot on the east patio.
- Closed toe shoes and a signed liability form are required for tour.
- Light snacks and warm beverages provided.
- If you plan on staying after midnight, or star gazing from Beacon Ridge Road, please fill out an Access Permit to ensure that you understand our site rules.
- Our parking lots along Beacon Ridge Road are great spots to watch the meteor shower if you want a quieter location. See the map on the Access Permit page of our website for the parking areas.
The Wild Horse Wind Facility is located in Game Management Unit (GMU) 329 in eastern Kittitas County. PSE allows public hunting at Wild Horse during all legal hunting seasons that fall between April 1 and November 30.
HUNTING RESERVATION PERMITS ARE REQUIRED for hunting within the wind facility boundary. Hunting reservation permits are issued online only through WDFW's Hunt by Reservation Program. Hunting permits are no longer issued at the Wild Horse Renewable Energy Center (visitor center). Permits, maps and rules are all available online.
PSE offers special access opportunities to hunters with lower extremity mobility disabilities through a limited permit drawing administered by WDFW's Road Access Entry Program. If drawn for a permit, hunters will be issued a special use permit by PSE allowing access to drive into a designated closed or gated area where other hunters must walk in. Application submissions for the drawing begin the first week of June and must be submitted to WDFW by July 31 in order to be eligible for the drawing.
If not drawn for special access, disabled hunters must apply for a hunting reservation permit though WDFW's Hunt by Reservation Program if they wish to still hunt at Wild Horse and MUST follow the same rules as non-disabled hunters.
FREE Hunter Breakfast
Please join PSE and the Kittitas County Field & Stream Club at the Wild Horse Renewable Energy Center from 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. the Friday before the Modern Firearm General Elk Season for a free hunter breakfast!
Lands within the Wild Horse Wind Facility are also open to non-hunting recreational activities such as hiking, birdwatching and horseback riding from April 1 – November 30 by written permission only.
RECREATION ACCESS PERMITS ARE REQUIRED for public recreation within the wind facility boundary. Recreation access permits are available online and at the Wild Horse Renewable Energy Center April-October 31st, 9:00-5:00pm.
Want to know more? Read up with the resources listed below.
- American Wind Energy Association State wind industry fact sheets, U.S. Annual Market Reports, webinars, wildlife, permitting, and more.
- Renewable Northwest Projects Map View renewable energy facilities on a map, throughout WA, OR, ID, and MT, with information about capacity, owner, and stage of construction.
- Danish Wind Industry Association An in-depth look into generators, transmission, design, weather, manufacturing, and the grid.
- Vestas: Information on current Vestas wind turbine models and technology.
- Vestas E-Learning: Short cartoons about the wind-energy industry, construction of components, and the science behind the technology.
- Department of Energy Solar and wind information, renewables for your home, and industry updates.
- Wind Energy Education and Training Programs Wind energy education and training programs in the United States at community colleges, universities, and other institutions.
- U.S. Wind Speed Maps Color coded wind speed maps for each state.
- Wind Energy Curricula and Teaching Materials Curriculum resource list including KidWind, 4H, PBS, universities, and more.
- Solar Washington Information on solar in Washington for homeowners and businesses.
- Department of Energy Education Resources Student educational resources.