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PSC approves Gulf Power’s wind project

Gulf Power on Tuesday received unanimous approval from the Florida Public Service Commission on an agreement that will make the utility a leading purchaser of wind generation among Florida utilities.

The project, called Kingfisher Wind, will be built in central Oklahoma, where conditions are favorable for wind energy. The agreement is the first of its kind in the state.

“Kingfisher Wind will help Gulf Power add renewable energy that makes environmental and economic sense,” said Jeff Rogers, external communications manager for Gulf Power. “Smart renewables, like Kingfisher Wind, are cost effective for customers.”

The Kingfisher Wind project is expected to begin commercial operation by the end of the year. A total of 89 of the project’s wind turbines will supply 178 megawatts to Gulf Power, which is enough energy to power approximately 50,700 homes per year.

“The power we get from Kingfisher Wind will represent approximately 5 percent of our projected energy mix,” Rogers said. “Wind power helps diversify the power supply and Kingfisher Wind is projected to provide lower overall energy costs.”

This wind project will be Gulf Power’s fifth renewable energy project following the Perdido Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility, which has produced more than 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity since 2010, and three solar energy projects that are scheduled to begin construction in February 2016.

Gulf Power announced in January that the utility is partnering with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to build solar energy farms at three different facilities across Northwest Florida.

The solar energy farms have already been approved by the FPSC and will be constructed at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach (30 megawatts), Holley Field in Navarre (40 megawatts) and Saufley Field in Pensacola (50 megawatts) and are expected to be in service by December 2016.

“Adding alternative energy to our portfolio takes careful planning to ensure we provide our customers with what they want and what they need – cost-effective energy that diversifies our power supply,” said Rogers.