HOUSTON, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- With the wind at their backs, officials from Horizon Wind Energy, owned by EDP Renewables, the world's fourth largest wind energy player, gathered on the Slick Hills terrain of southwestern Oklahoma yesterday with state and local dignitaries and project landowners to celebrate the start of operations at Blue Canyon V Wind Farm.
The project, which is the third phase of the Blue Canyon Wind Farm, is situated on 7,000 acres near the small towns of Apache in Caddo County and Elgin in Comanche County. It has an installed capacity of 99 megawatts (MW) -- enough to power approximately 30,000 average Oklahoma homes with clean energy each year.
"It's with great pleasure that we dedicate Blue Canyon V Wind Farm," said Horizon Wind Energy CEO Gabriel Alonso, noting that the project officially went online on Friday, October 23, 2009 after construction was completed from start to full commissioning in just over five months, despite the hard soil conditions. "Blue Canyon V Wind Farm's completion is the result of numerous parties coming together in the belief that clean, renewable energy is the best way to diversify the electricity generation portfolio, protect against volatile natural gas spikes and utilize a renewable, domestic source of energy.
"I'd like to extend my sincere thanks to the community and our supportive landowners participating under long-term lease and easement agreements, as well as to the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) for purchasing the energy and delivering it to Oklahoma citizens," he continued.
PSO, which serves 527,000 customers in Oklahoma and already purchases electricity generated from Phase II of the project, has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement for the electricity generated by Blue Canyon V Wind Farm.
The Tulsa-based company is part of the American Electric Power system (AEP), which is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than five million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 MW of generating capacity in the U.S.
"We are very pleased to partner with Horizon to bring the benefits of clean, renewable wind energy to PSO's customers. This will add nearly 100 megawatts of wind-generated power to our energy mix, and help us maintain our position as Oklahoma's largest distributor of wind power," said PSO President and Chief Operating Officer Stuart Solomon.
PSO's electricity from Blue Canyon V will come from 66 GE sle 1.5 MW turbines. Each turbine is nearly 265 feet high with a rotor that is approximately 254 feet in diameter. When turning, these blades prevent the annual emission of approximately 240,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a contributor to climate change; more than 750,000 pounds of nitrogen oxide, which causes smog; and, 950,000 pounds tons of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain. The environmental benefits are equivalent to taking 30,000 cars off of the road.
At a time when many Americans are struggling to find gainful employment, Blue Canyon V Wind Farm -- Horizon's 19th wind farm to come on line -- created nearly 250 temporary jobs during construction and 10 permanent jobs in operations. Furthermore, the project has yielded significant economic benefits to the community in the form of payments to landowners, local spending and annual community investment.
In 2009, Horizon has accelerated construction on 800 MW of projects located in Oregon, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana worth more than $1.5 billion of investment -- a record amount of new capacity for the company.
Oklahoma State Senator Tom Ivester stated at the event today, "Wind power is essential for our state and nation's energy independence. Imagine a time when we're no longer dependent on oil from the Middle East. I'm proud that Oklahoma is on the leading edge of this independence."
As of June, 27, 2009, Oklahoma ranked 12th in the nation for existing capacity for wind energy and ranked 8th for potential capacity (AWEA, 2009). Oklahoma currently has 12 wind projects online, which account for more than 865 MW of wind generating capacity. Horizon Wind Energy has more than 1200 MW in the pipeline for the state.
About Horizon Wind Energy
With over 20 offices, including one in Oklahoma, and more than 20 wind farms across the United States, Horizon Wind Energy has developed more than 3,400 MW and operates over 2,700 MW of wind farms.
Horizon is owned by EDP Renovaveis S.A. ("EDPR"), a global leader in the renewable energy sector that designs, develops, manages and operates power plants that generate electricity using renewable energy sources. With a sound development pipeline, first class assets and market-leading operating capacity, EDPR has undergone exceptional development in recent years. EDPR's installed capacity increased four-fold between 2005 and 2007, becoming the fourth largest wind energy producer in the world. EDPR is listed on the Euronext Lisbon Stock Exchange.
Energias de Portugal, S.A. ("EDP"), the parent company of EDPR, is a vertically integrated utility company, headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal. Through its various constituent businesses, EDP holds significant electricity and gas operations in Europe, Brazil, and the United States.
For more information, visit www.horizonwind.com.
SOURCE Horizon Wind Energy