Friday, 13 November 2009

Utah's biggest wind-energy project goes online - Milford facility's power output will go to S. California
Nov. 10, 2009

The "green" energy wave has hit southwestern Utah in a big way. On Tuesday, the state's biggest wind-energy electricity-generation facility began commercial operation near Milford. Located in Millard and Beaver counties, the first phase of the Milford Wind Corridor project features 97 wind turbines and is expected to generate 203.5 MWs of electricity, making it the largest renewable-energy facility in Utah, according to a news release from developer First Wind LLC, based in Newton, Mass.

Previously, the largest utility-scale wind project had been a 19-MW, nine-turbine facility in Spanish Fork Canyon that began operation in August 2008. Construction of the Milford project began just over a year ago. The first phase generated nearly $86 million in direct and indirect spending in Utah and the creation of 250 development and construction jobs, the release said. The first phase will generate enough power to provide electricity to about 45,000 homes per year.

Eventually, the $400 million project will include 159 turbines across 40 square miles of public and private land. "We're looking forward to expanding it in the months and years to come," Paul Gaynor, chief executive officer of First Wind, said in the release. "This project is a great example of the kind of development that helps create jobs and helps stimulate the economy." The project's power will go to the Southern California Public Power Authority, on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the cities of Burbank and Pasadena, Calif. In December 2007, First Wind signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the authority.

"We're pleased to see this project go online and begin delivering clean power to our customers," said Bill Carnahan, the authority's executive director, said at Tuesday dedication ceremony. The Milford Wind Corridor is the first wind-energy facility permitted under the Bureau of Land Management's Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Western U.S, states, designed to promote the development of renewable-energy projects on federal land.

"The Milford Wind project is a perfect example of the priority the BLM puts on the generation of renewable energy to support the nation's energy needs," Selma Sierra, Utah state director for the BLM, said in the news release. "It exemplifies our ability to fulfill our energy needs in a timely and efficient manner through the combined efforts of partnering federal and state agencies, as well as private industry. "The Milford Wind project is an excellent example of positive, clean, renewable energy production."