California Entity Purchases Washington Wind Farm
SAN DIEGO, CA – Renewable energy pioneers Cannon Power Group announced today the closing of the sale of Phase I of its Windy Point/Windy Flats project in Goldendale, Washington to Tuolumne Wind Project Authority, a California joint power powers agency formed by the Turlock Irrigation District and Walnut Energy Center Authority. The 136.6 megawatt (MW) wind energy project will be referred to as the Tuolumne Wind Project.
Expected to be fully completed in 2010, Windy Point/Windy Flats will be one of the largest wind projects in the world – 26 contiguous miles of ridgeline along the Columbia River – covering over 90 square miles. Its anticipated capacity of more than 500 MW of renewable energy will generate enough clean electricity for more than 250,000 households per year and will displace at least 800 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
Phase I began commercial operation on May 28, 2009. The project land is leased through eight private lease agreements with 20 year terms and one lease with the State of Washington that extends for 40 years.
Turlock Irrigation District provides electric service to approximately 98,548 customers in a 662 square-mile area in central California (90 miles southeast of San Francisco).
California will continue to benefit from the Windy Point/Windy Flats project as another California entity is expected to purchase power from Phase II, known as Windy Flats, with additional commitments expected in the near future. In sum, it is anticipated that California will receive 400 MW of clean energy from the entire project which could significantly help the state meet its renewable energy goals.
“Windy Point/Windy Flats is a tremendous project and we are proud to add this to our utility-scale clean power development portfolio,” said Gary Hardke, president and managing director and San Diego-based Cannon Power Group. “This has long been one of the premier wind sites in the Pacific Northwest and is the culmination of over five years of hard work by our development and construction teams in close coordination with the local community.”
Phase I of the three-phase project includes over twenty miles of roads, nine miles of transmission lines, over 87 miles of underground cable, two project substations and foundations and installments of 62 turbines (42 Siemens 2.3 MW turbines and 20 REpower 2.0 MW turbines). Cannon Power Construction Company is acting as construction contractor.
The Windy Point/Windy Flats project is creating more than 150 local jobs for the next two years in everything from office administrators to technicians, and hiring nearly 75 percent of the employees from the Klickitat County area. Klickitat County will see property tax revenues of approximately $2 million a year from Windy Point/Windy Flats that helps fund community needs such as libraries, schools, and fire protection services.
The rent the project will pay local landowners will inject another $2 million a year directly into the local economy for the next 20 years. The project’s total capital investment in Klickitat County based on current commitments is over $700 million, which is expected to increase with planned project expansions.
Construction of the infrastructure for Phase II is well underway and will add another 21 miles of roads, ten miles of transmission lines, an additional two project substations, along with 88 Siemens 2.3 MW turbines. Cannon Power Group recently announced its intention to further expand Phase II by an additional 26 turbines (approximately 60 MW), which would bring Phase II to over 260 MW.
Klickitat County’s Maryhill Museum is home to 15 of the project’s wind turbines and will receive more than $100,000 in revenue each year once the turbines begin producing energy in 2009. According to the American Wind Energy Association, this is believed to be the first wind energy project in the United States to generate revenues for a nonprofit museum. Cannon Power Group also made an in-kind donation to the Maryhill Museum of $18,000 worth of concrete to improve their parking lot and side walk areas.