MILFORD, Utah, November 11, 2009 (ENS) – The largest wind farm in Utah and one of the largest in the western United States was commissioned with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at the project site near the small town of Milford.
First Wind, an independent North American wind power company based in Boston, celebrated the completion of the first phase of its Milford Wind Corridor project in the presence of Utah Lt. Governor Greg Bell, officials with the federal Bureau of Land Management, state and local officials.
The power generated by the wind farm will be sent south to serve Southern California, so representatives of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the cities of Burbank and Pasadena, and the Southern California Public Power Authority attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“This project has generated nearly $86 million in direct and indirect spending in Utah and will continue to benefit the region,” said Bell. “Utah has tremendous potential for generating renewable power. This development primes Utah’s economic engine, while also protecting our environment.”
“Not only is this First Wind’s largest project to date, but it is the largest wind farm in Utah and one of the largest in the West. We’re looking forward to expanding it in the months and years to come,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “This project is a great example of the kind of development that helps creates jobs and helps stimulate the economy.”
Featuring 97 wind turbines, the first phase of the project has the capacity to generate 203 megawatts of wind energy, enough to power about 45,000 homes per year, Gaynor says.
The Milford Wind Corridor is the first wind energy facility permitted under the Bureau of Land Management’s Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for western states.
“The Milford Wind project is a perfect example of the priority the BLM puts on the generation of renewable energy to support the nation’s energy needs,” said Selma Sierra, the Utah state director for the BLM.
“It exemplifies our ability to fulfill our energy needs in a timely and efficient manner through the combined efforts of partnering federal and state agencies as well as private industry,” she said.
In December 2007, First Wind completed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Southern California Public Power Authority on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the cities of Burbank and Pasadena.
“This is another significant source of renewable energy that will help us meet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s and the City of LA’s goal to achieve 20 percent renewables by 2010, reduce our carbon footprint, fight global warming, and foster cleaner air,” said LADWP General Manager S. David Freeman.
“We’re pleased to see this project go online and begin delivering clean power to our customers,” said Bill Carnahan, executive director of the Southern California Public Power Authority. “At SCPPA, one of our goals is to assist our members in providing a diverse range of power supplies and expanded use of renewable resources. The Milford Wind project, and the clean energy it is providing, is an important step in that direction.”
RMT, a Wisconsin-based engineering and construction company, led the year-long construction of the project.
Citing data published by the U.S. EPA’s Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database, E-GRID, First Wind points out that fossil fuel generation producing an about the same amount of power as the Milford project would emit greenhouse gases equivalent to more than 210,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, about as much as the CO2 emitted by 37,000 automobiles.
Equivalent energy production from fossil fuels would produce 295 tons of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain that harms lakes and rivers, the E-Grid data shows.