About 30 wind turbines could sprout about 18 miles northwest of Snowflake off State Route 377, cranking out enough power for more than 15,000 homes in Salt River Project territory, the utility announced Monday.
If built, the Dry Lake Wind Project would be the first commercial wind-energy farm in Arizona. Both SRP and Arizona Public Service Co. buy wind power generated in New Mexico.
SRP has a 20-year contract Iberdrola Renewables to buy 63 megawatts of energy by December 2009. One megawatt is enough electricity for about 250 homes in SRP territory.
Utility officials Monday morning couldn’t disclose the cost of electricity SRP will buy from the plant.
The U.S. headquarters of Madrid, Spain-based Iberdrola Renewables is in Portland.
Iberdrola buys wind turbines from manufacturers such as GE Energy, develops and operates the power plants, spokeswoman Jan Johnson said.
The company can’t say yet how tall or exactly how many turbines will go in the Dry Lake project because officials haven’t determined the best mix of turbines for the region, she said.
The project incorporates a combination of private, state and Bureau of Land Management acreage, according to Iberdrola.
Arizona alternative-energy proponents praised the project.
“The Dry Lake Wind Project represents a significant financial investment in Arizona and Navajo County,” Gov. Janet Napolitano said. “It will help increase our renewable-energy supplies without using water or adding carbon to the atmosphere.”
Construction is scheduled to begin in 2009, using 100 laborers and engineers, according to Iberdrola. Five permanent positions will be needed to run the plant.
Iberdrola and SRP officials couldn’t immediately estimate the cost of the project, but the wind-project company has announced plans to invest $8 billion in the U.S. by 2012, building 1,000 megawatts of wind power a year.
By Ryan Randazzo
The Arizona Republic
28 July 2008
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