The owner of a Kay County wind farm announced Wednesday it is about to more than double the operation’s size.
Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, stated it plans to build the 350-megawatt Frontier Windpower II project by the end of 2020.
That one project, company officials said, will be the largest capacity project it has operating in its 3,000-megawatt advanced-energy fleet of wind and solar nationwide.
Together with its already operating Frontier Windpower project, the two will combine for a total capacity of 550 megawatts, enough energy to power about 193,000 homes.
“Frontier II will deliver clean energy for Oklahoma and significant economic benefits to the area,” Rob Caldwell, president of Duke Energy Renewables, stated in the announceement.
Caldwell noted Windpower II, like the first development, will be located “in an area that has some of the best wind resources in the country.”
The project is being supported in part by a virtual power purchase agreement for 161 megawatts of energy that the Ball Corp., which supplies packaging for beverage, personal care and household products customers, made with Duke Energy Renewables.
Ball Corp. and its subsidiaries employ 17,500 people worldwide, reporting net sales of $11.6 billion in 2018.
The agreement places Ball among the leading corporate buyers of renewable energy in its industry, stated John A. Hayes, its chairman, president and CEO.
He said Ball, which also provides packing services for aerospace and technologies and the U.S. government, believes using renewable energy enhances the sustainability credentials of its products.
Hayes stated the deal marks “a critical moment in our sustainability journey.”
Duke Energy Renewables officials said another, yet-to-be-named corporation also has signed an agreement for 160 megawatts of Frontier Windpower II energy.
Duke Energy, which sells power produced by its renewable resources to utilities, cooperatives, municipalities and to commercial and industrial customers, plans to own or purchase 8,000 megawatts of wind, solar and biomass energy by 2020, officials stated.
As for Frontier Windpower II, Duke Energy Renewables stated the project will use 74 towers that will be equipped with 4.8-megawatt wind turbines supplied by the Nordex Group.
Patxi Landa, chief sales officer of Nordex, stated Frontier Windpower II will use one of the most-modern turbines it has available.
“The turbine technology will maximize the wind resource in Oklahoma to benefit customers,” Landa continued.
Officials stated Wednesday that full mobilization for Frontier Windpower II will occur later this summer, creating about 250 jobs during peak periods of construction.
They also stated they expect the project, which received development support from Amshore US Wind and will be built by Wanzek Construction, will be fully operational by December 2020.
Duke Energy Renewable’s Wednesday announcement is the second major advanced energy announcement involving Oklahoma made this week.
On Tuesday, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative announced a deal it made with NextEra Energy Resources to buy power from NextEra’s Skeleton Creek project, which will have a capacity of 700 megawatts that includes 250 megawatts of wind, 250 megawatts of solar and 200 megawatts of storage that will be located in Garfield, Alfalfa and Major counties.
A local advocate for renewable energy called both projects “game changers” that will provide meaningful boosts to Oklahoma’s renewable energy portfolio, where wind already generates 36% of the state’s energy.
“These two announcements are a clear signal that Oklahoma is the pre-eminent leader in the Southwest Power Pool, in not only wind, but solar and battery storage,” said Mark Yates, a vice president with the Advanced Power Alliance.
“These investments will bring a much-needed economic boost to several of our rural counties and communities.”