Announced at the Infocast Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit in San Diego, construction was completed in just five months, resulting in the installation of 122 of GE’s 1.5 megawatt turbines. The wind farms are now operational and delivering clean energy to Idaho Power Company and its customers, while also bringing jobs to the region.
The wind farms are capable of generating 183 megawatts of energy—enough to power 39,700 average Idaho homes—and are positioned on 11 sites in two topographically diverse regions in southern Idaho (eight wind farms in Hagerman and three wind farms in Burley) situated 70 miles apart. Despite the distance between the wind farms, they are able to operate as a unified system, enabling operating efficiencies, or on a site-by-site basis.
“Today marks a significant milestone for residents of Idaho who can now power their homes with cleaner, independently sourced energy, ” said Kevin Walsh, Managing Director and Leader of Power and Renewable Energy at GE Energy Financial Services. “In addition to increasing our nation’s energy independence, these wind farms provide enormous environmental benefits, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the removal of 57,000 cars from the roads. We also were able to bring temporary and permanent jobs to a region that has been dramatically impacted by the economic slowdown.”
The project created over 300 construction jobs, far in excess of the originally anticipated 175 jobs. Approximately 25 permanent jobs also were created for maintenance and other critical functions. In addition to those employed directly, using a National Renewable Energy Laboratory model, a wind project of this size would typically support the equivalent of 2,200 full-time jobs in the United States for one year.
"After five years of intense planning, followed by five months of construction, we achieved our goal of creating Idaho’s largest wind farm portfolio, ” said James Carkulis, President and CEO of Exergy. “We are now able to transition into ongoing operations, providing the customers of Idaho Power Company with a more environmentally friendly energy solution.”
Construction, led by Fagen, Inc., was completed on schedule despite a tight schedule and occasionally extreme weather at the project site. Adding to the complexities was the need for all 11 project sites to strike individual agreements with Idaho Power Company, then to establish separate electrical interconnections into the transmission and distribution system.
GE Energy Financial Services, Atlantic Power, and project developer Exergy own non-managing member equity interests in the nearly $500 million Idaho Wind Partners project. Reunion Power holds the managing member equity interest and serves as the project’s manager. The wind farms are selling all of their power to Idaho Power Company under 20-year agreements.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally across the capital spectrum in essential, long-lived and capital-intensive energy assets that meet the world’s energy needs. In addition to capital, GE Energy Financial Services (geenergyfinancialservices.com) offers the best of GE’s technical know-how, technology innovation, financial strength and rigorous risk management. Based in Stamford, Connecticut, the GE business unit helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships and optimization of its $21 billion in assets.
GE (ge.com) is a diversified infrastructure, finance and media company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, health care solutions, and television programming, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.
About Reunion Power
Reunion Power, LLC (reunionpower.com), a privately owned company, provides project development and asset management services along with a thorough understanding of how to build and manage a successful project. Reunion began operations in 2000 and its management team combines over 100 years of development, engineering, and financial management experience in clean energy markets. Reunion’s hands-on experience in wind power commenced in 2002.
About Exergy Development Group
Exergy Development Group (exergydevelopment.com) is one of the major independent renewable energy developers in the United States. Exergy’s focus is on deploying commercially successful, socially beneficial and environmentally responsible renewable energy projects. The company moves its projects from conception to commercial operation, and is developing new and advanced renewable energy technologies as part of this comprehensive strategy. Exergy has assembled a renewables projects queue of over 4,000 MW across the Western and Midwestern United States. The company’s veteran team is set apart by its commitment to advancing renewable energy by mitigating utility concerns about renewables integration and orienting its projects towards local people and landscapes. Exergy believes that sustainable economic prosperity is inextricably tied to the well being of our communities and natural environment.
About Atlantic Power
Atlantic Power Corporation is an independent power producer, with power projects located in major markets in the United States. Our current portfolio consists of interests in 13 operational power generation projects across ten states, one biomass project under construction in Georgia, a 500 kilovolt 84-mile electric transmission line located in California and several development projects. Our power generation projects in operation have an aggregate gross electric generation capacity of approximately 1,961 megawatts (or "MW"), in which our ownership interest is approximately 878 MW.
Idaho’s largest portfolio of wind farms—partially shown here—is now operational and delivering clean energy to Idaho Power Company and its customers through a partnership of GE Energy Financial Services, Exergy Development Group, Atlantic Power Corporation and Reunion Power. (Photo credit: Ilene Ferrell)
Christa Bowers - GE Energy Financial Services
P: +1 203 961 2934 / M: +1 203 339 1434 / E: christa.bowers[.]ge.com.