David Savage is the public face of a unique wind project planned for Kay County.
Savage, whose family has had about 1,000 acres of land west of Blackwell for generations, is the local development partner working with New York-based OwnEnergy on the project.
OwnEnergy specializes in working with local landowners on renewable energy projects. The company is active in 14 states, with about 1,700 megawatts of wind power in development, officials said.
Project manager Russ Laplante said the format allows local residents to invest in projects such as the $100 million wind farm planned for Kay County and get some return on the development.
Such projects are good for Oklahoma, said Kylah McNabb, wind development specialist at the Oklahoma Commerce Department.
“Community wind projects are a wonderful mechanism of developing Oklahoma’s wind,” she said. “The business model that community ownership provides leads to greater local financial and economic benefits.”
LaPlante said the Kay County project is unique due to its proximity to the middle of Oklahoma. Turbines will be erected on the west side of Interstate 35 where they will be plainly visible to motorists.
No transmission issue
Most of the state’s wind farms are in western Oklahoma, but transmission issues have slowed development there.
Laplante said the Blackwell site is closer to Oklahoma’s electric load centers, so “it doesn’t need any additional transmission built.”
Savage said another unique aspect of the project is the plan to build wind turbines on highly productive farmland.
He said the 60-megawatt wind project will have minimal impact on the wheat and soybean crops on his family’s land. Turbines will occupy only about 2 percent of the 5,000 acres of land secured for the project.
Savage, an information technology consultant in Dallas, said most of his fellow Kay County landowners have been enthusiastic about the wind project.
Laplante said construction could begin in 2012.
Officials are negotiating a power purchase contract.
“After we get that, we’re going to be off to the races,” he said.
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