Enel Green Power Invests $250 Million in Oklahoma Wind Farm

TradeWind Energy, LLC, is one of the largest independent wind farm project development companies in the U.S. Founded in 2003, the Lenexa, Kan., based company partners with local utilities, cooperatives, environmental groups, municipalities and landowners to develop mutually beneficial wind energy projects.

TradeWind Energy, the 2009 recipient of the Kansas Governor’s Energy Achievement Award, takes great pride in its ability to deliver low-cost wind energy while maintaining an uncompromising commitment to long-term project quality. The company is actively developing 4,500 MW of clean, renewable energy in 11 states throughout the central United States. TradeWind Energy developed the 250 megawatt Smoky Hills Wind Project located in central Kansas – the largest wind project in the state.

The new wind farm, valued at about $250m, consist of 93 wind turbines with a capacity of 1.6 MW each. Enel Green Power provided the complete financing for the wind energy project.

EGP begins the construction of a 150 MW wind farm in Oklahoma. Enel Green Power North America started construction activities of the Rocky Ridge wind energy project, with 93 wind turbines of 1.6 MW each.

The Rocky Ridge wind farm is expected to supply enough power to meet the energy needs of approximately 55,000 US households, therefore avoiding the emission of over 470,000 tons of CO2 per year; Wind power project investment to total approximately 250 million US dollars.

Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGP NA) and its development partner TradeWind Energy started construction activities of the Rocky Ridge wind energy project, 51% owned by EGP NA, located in Kiowa County and Washita County, Oklahoma.

The new wind farm’s installed capacity will total approximately 150 MW and consist of 93 wind turbines of 1.6 MW each. Once fully operational, the wind power plant will generate approximately 630 million kWh annually, supplying power to approximately 55,000 US households and avoiding the annual emission of over 470,000 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The wind farm has a power purchase agreement with the Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.

The overall investment in this project amounts to, approximately, 250 million US dollars. This amount, which is fully financed by Enel Green Power, is part of the 2011-2015 investment program already disclosed to the market back in March this year. The plant is expected to become operational in the summer of 2012.

The Rocky Ridge project spreads across 18,000 acres of land, leased from 75 landowners. The wind farm will generate approximately 150 jobs during construction as well as approximately 10 operation, maintenance and administration jobs once the plant will be up and running.

“We are thrilled to witness the start of construction of Enel Green Power’s first project in Oklahoma. Over time, our cooperation with TradeWind Energy proved to be an opportunity to develop renewable energy as well as creating value among local communities through job and income generation.” commented Francesco Starace, Chief Executive Officer of Enel Green Power.

Rocky Ridge is the fourth wind project that EGP NA and TradeWind Energy have worked on together through the partnership launched by the two companies back in 2006. Following the entry in operation of the Caney River and Rocky Ridge projects, the partnership will have commissioned 600 MW in new wind power projects – the already operational Smoky Hills 1 and 2 (totaling around 250 MW), the Caney River wind farm, currently under construction (200 MW) and the Rocky Ridge wind farm (150 MW) presently beginning construction.

Enel Green Power is the Enel Group company devoted to the development and management of power generation from renewable sources at the international level, with a presence in Europe and the Americas. It is among the industry leaders worldwide thanks to its approximately 22 billion KWh generated from a well balanced energy mix inclusive of water, solar power, wind energy and geothermal energy sources.

This is enough to meet the energy needs of about 8 million households and avoid the emission of more than 16 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. The company’s installed capacity exceeds 6,100 MW, produced by more than 620 plants in operation around the world, with a generation mix that includes wind, solar energy, hydro, geothermal energy and biomass.

Enel Green Power North America, Inc., part of Enel Green Power, is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants in North America with projects operating and under development in 21 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces. Currently, EGP-NA owns and operates 72 plants with an installed capacity of around 800 MW powered by renewable hydropower, wind, geothermal energy and biomass energy.

WFEC is a generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Anadarko, Okla. Additional plant facilities are located in Hugo, Okla. and Mooreland, Okla. Member-owners consist of 23 distribution cooperatives, located in Oklahoma and New Mexico, and the Altus Air Force Base, which, in turn, serve the total electric needs of more than half a million people. WFEC owns and operates generating plants at three locations and maintains more than 3,600 miles of transmission line. The cooperative has a combined capacity of over 1,700 megawatts, including hydropower allocation and, with the addition of the Rocky Ridge Wind Project, purchases all of the electricity produced from four wind generation projects in Oklahoma.

By José Santamarta, www.evwind.com