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A plan to sell the wind: Company to invest $400M in area wind farms

ENID – TradeWind Energy has completed work on a contract to sell electricity in Alabama and will invest about $400 million in a wind farm in Garfield and Grant counties.

Frank Costanza, executive vice president for business development for TradeWind, announced the contract with Alabama Power Co. on Monday during a legislative golf tournament at Oakwood Country Club. TradeWind will provide wind-generated electricity to Alabama Power for 20 years. The contract was approved Sept. 7 by Alabama Public Service Commission.

The Chisholm View Wind Project would be built across 20,000 acres of land leased from 100 landowners in northern Garfield and southern Grant counties. It would be the largest wind farm in Oklahoma, TradeWind officials said in a news release.

Company officials said the wind farm would contribute up to $5 million annually to the local economy via property taxes and rent payments to landowners who will host the turbine easements over the 20-year contract.

Commercial operation is expected to begin in December 2012, according to the news release.

During construction, Constanza said, the project will provide 150 jobs. The company will have 10-15 permanent, full-time jobs locally when operations begin. He said the wind farm will generate between 200 and 300 megawatts of electricity.

“It is enough electricity to power 80,000 homes,” Costanza said. “We will move power from Oklahoma, where there is plenty of wind, to Alabama, where there is no wind.”

TradeWind has been purchasing rights from property owners for about two years.

Brent Kisling, executive director of Enid Regional Development Alliance, one of the sponsors of the legislative golf tournament, said the project accomplishes two things.

“It moves wind, which we have plenty of, out of state and brings in something we need: out-of-state money,” Kisling said.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin praised the announcement.

“Our business-friendly atmosphere and pro-growth policies are helping to attract great companies like TradeWind Energy to Oklahoma,” she said. “The result is job creation and the infusion of money back into the state in the form of tax revenues and landowner lease payments.”

This is the second wind power project in Oklahoma for TradeWind. The first project is in Kiowa and Washita counties and supplies electricity to Western Farmers Cooperative, he said.

TradeWind Energy, of Lenexa, Kan., was started in 2003 and creates partnerships with utilities, cooperatives, environmental groups, municipalities, and landowners across the nation to develop wind projects. The company’s largest investor is Enel North America Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Enel SpA, one of the world’s largest publicly held utility companies with a market capitalization of more than $60 billion.

Kisling said the announcement is one example of the opportunities presented by gatherings like the legislative golf tournament. About 70 golfers, including 25 state legislators, attended Monday’s event. Curt Roggow, a consultant for the city of Enid, said it is important to get legislators to Enid to visit with local leaders and get to know the community.

The golf tournament also highlighted six local projects that recently have been completed or are under way. Projects by Community Development Support Association, Leonardo’s Discovery Warehouse, Enid Renaissance Project, Enid Woodring Regional Airport, Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center and Enid Public Schools were represented along the golf course.