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$350 million wind farm coming; Ninety to 100 wind turbines to be built south of Winchester  

Credit:  Written by Seth Slabaugh | The Star Press | June 11, 2013 | www.thestarpress.com ~~

WINCHESTER – EDP Renewables North America expects to construct a $350 million to $400 million wind farm containing 90 to 100 turbines in Randolph County beginning next spring and ending before winter arrives.

“We don’t have all the details solidified yet, so those are only ballpark figures,” EDPR spokesman Adam Renz from Houston told The Star Press on Tuesday. “But this is a sizable project. We have done other 200-megawatt projects so we have data to back up these ballpark estimates, but each project has its own nuances.”

Indiana Michigan Power announced this week it had reached an agreement with EDPR to buy electricity from a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm to be called Headwaters Wind Farm.

Washington Township south of Winchester is the headwaters of the White River, or the place where the river begins. Most of the wind farm would be built in Washington Township, which contains the community of Lynn, but some turbines also would be installed in Union and and White River townships, said County Attorney Meeks Cockerill.

The population of Washington Township is 2,172, including the town of Lynn, which makes up about half the population.

EDPR is a subsidiary of EDP Renováveis, the world’s third-largest wind energy producer, headquartered in Spain.

The company is in the midst of negotiating wind farm decommissioning, road use and economic development agreements with the county commissioners, Cockerill said. The company is also planning to file a request through county council for property tax abatement.

EDPR owns and operates 29 wind farms throughout the United States, including the Meadow Lake Wind Farm in White County, Indiana.

“We are excited to partner with Indiana Michigan Power to deliver clean and cost-effective homegrown Indiana electricity to power more than 55,000 homes annually,” said Gabriel Alonso, the CEO of EDPR, in a prepared statement.

EDPR expects to create the equivalent of more than 150 full-time jobs throughout the construction phase of Headwaters Wind Farm and more than 20 permanent jobs once the project is completed, Renz said.

“But the number we typically see is double that – close to 300 construction jobs,” Renz added. “And 25 permanent, full-time jobs is a low-ball estimate.”

Many of the permanent jobs will be technicians requiring special certifications/associate degrees from trade schools. “They are some of the highest-paying jobs in many communities across the USA,” Renz said. “They’re definitely not like a minimum-wage scenario.”

Ground breaking will occur before next spring, but noticeable construction won’t happen until then, Renz said.

The extension of the federal renewable electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) in January of this year enabled a more favorable environment for the development of wind energy and for the establishment of new, long-term power purchase agreements like the one entered into by I&M and EDPR, the wind company said.

The PTC provides an income tax credit for the production of electricity from utility-scale wind turbines.

Headwaters Wind Farm will be connected to the American Electric Power (AEP) transmission system to deliver power to I&M customers.

“Our agreement with EDPR is an important step in our continuing efforts to diversify our generation portfolio, which includes wind, hydro, nuclear and coal,” said Paul Chodak III, president of I&M, in a news release.

The wind power contract resulted from a request for proposals that I&M issued in February to fulfill its commitment under a consent order negotiated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, several northeastern states, and various environmental groups to add 200 MW of new wind energy.

The 2007 settlement with I&M parent AEP ended nearly eight years of litigation regarding alleged violations of the Clean Air Act by its fleet of 16 coal-fueled power plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. AEP paid a civil penalty of $15 million.

The addition of Headwaters Wind Farm will bring I&M’s total wind power portfolio to 450 megawatts. I&M has power purchase agreements for a total of 150 MW from the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County in Indiana and 100 MW from the Wildcat-1 Wind Farm in Madison, Grant, Howard and Tipton counties in Indiana.

E.ON Climate & Renewables already has secured local government approval for a wind farm west of Winchester and NextEra Energy Resources has won local government approval for a wind farm north of Winchester. Like EDPR, both had submitted bids to sell power to I&M.

Source:  Written by Seth Slabaugh | The Star Press | June 11, 2013 | www.thestarpress.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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