Chinook Wind: Pioneering Wash. company lassos industry growth

John Bosche’s foray into the wind industry began when he serendipitously walked into an American Wind Energy Association convention in 1990. Inspired by the pioneering spirit of the several hundred already working in the wind power business, and the steady cost declines of electricity generated from the renewable resource, he found a job.

“It was like being an aircraft engineer right after the Wright brothers,” Bosche said.

In 2001, he founded Chinook Wind, an engineering consulting firm located in Everson, Washington, that assesses land to determine its suitability for wind farms. By 2009, as decreased wind energy costs and better turbine technologies helped the industry and Chinook’s business, the company grew from just Bosche to a firm of 15 employees.

Chinook primarily works with project developers to conduct pre-site assessments. That involves anything from setting up meteorological monitoring equipment and determining how the wind farm can be financed, to recommending turbine layout of the farm and monitoring the construction once the project breaks ground. Chinook Wind also has the capacity to monitor turbine and wind farm performance after construction and ensure the wind turbines are delivering their expected power.

While the majority of its business is concentrated within the United States, Chinook also is working globally, with major companies like GE Wind, BP Alternative Energy, Key Band, and Veolia.

Traveling to wind project sites all over the nation, Bosche anecdotally says he notices the economic impacts in communities like Tehachapi, Calif.; McCamey, Texas; and the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, where multimillion-dollar projects have been built.

This post originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 NRDC publication “American Wind Farms: Breaking Down the Benefits from Planning to Production.”