A prospective wind energy project could generate a substantial amount of buzz in Stephens County and Grady County in the near future.
The energy center is projected to be built in northern Stephens County and southern Grady County.
NextEra Energy Resources Spokesman Steve Stengal said county commissioners in both counties handed out approval, but a power purchase agreement has yet to be reached. The PPA would foster commerce between NextEra and a company looking to buy the wind generated electricity.
NextEra works mostly with municipalities, utility companies and large industrial or commercial businesses.
“We would put energy on the electrical grid, and a customer would grab that energy from a substation,” Stengal said.
The proposed plan would generate up to 250 megawatts of energy, according to Stengal. On average, a 200 megawatt project could serve upwards of 50,000 homes Stengal said.
NextEra currently has wind energy centers in several Oklahoma counties, including the Minco Energy Center in northeastern Grady County.
“Oklahoma is a very pro-wind state,” Stengal said. “It’s a place where we like to do business.”
Stengal said he hopes if all goes well the project can be operational by the end of 2016, but first a PPA must be established.
“We don’t know if we are moving forward on this project, so it’s premature to talk about jobs it will bring to the area right now,” he said.
Previous projects of this magnitude have taken six to nine months to go from dirt moving to operation and could have several hundred people on site during the height of construction.
Once completed, wind energy centers like this one employ between seven and 10 people full time Stengal said.
The company is optimistic this project will come to fruition, according to Stengal.
“Once we know we have a project, we need to negotiate road use agreements with the county and crossing permits will need to be gathered,” he said. “We are optimistic, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.”
NextEra is the largest wind energy generator in North America.
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