October 19, 2010
Low-Cost Clean Energy Produced from Rocky Ridge Project Will Create Jobs and Provide Power for Rural Oklahomans
Lenexa, Kan. (October 19, 2010) – TradeWind Energy, LLC and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) announced they have entered into a long-term renewable energy purchase agreement that will bring economic development and new jobs to Kiowa and Washita counties in Oklahoma. The Rocky Ridge Wind Project will deliver clean, low cost electricity to WFEC member customers in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and New Mexico.
TradeWind Energy is one of the largest independent wind project development companies in the U.S., while WFEC is a generation and transmission cooperative that provides electric service to 23 member cooperatives.
The 125 megawatt Rocky Ridge Wind Project will consist of about 75 wind turbines to be constructed across 11,000 acres of leased land in the two counties. Construction is expected to begin within six months, with commercial operation anticipated for January 2012. Approximately 150 workers will be hired during the construction phase. Upon completion, nine to ten full-time workers will be employed to monitor and maintain the facility, which will produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 40,000 homes.
The project is expected to contribute over $3 million annually in direct payments to the local community via property taxes and rent payments to approximately100 landowners whose properties will host the turbines or easements.
“Rocky Ridge allows TradeWind to meet the growing demand for affordable electricity produced from this inexhaustible Oklahoma resource,” said Frank Costanza, TradeWind’s executive vice president corporate development. “Rocky Ridge is one of the most energetic sites in our portfolio and its location allows us to take advantage of existing transmission lines to deliver power to WFEC’s customers at a reduced cost.”
“As a member-owned and operated rural cooperative, WFEC is committed to providing clean, efficient, reliable and reasonably priced power to our customers,” said Gary Roulet, WFEC chief executive officer.. “This purchase agreement with TradeWind provides the ability to lock-in a very favorable price for the electricity generated by the Rocky Ridge Wind Project for a long period of time,” Roulet explained.
Roulet noted that this helps WFEC to hedge against volatile fossil fuel prices and to be a partner in the sustained economic development for rural Oklahoma for years to come. “This power purchase agreement between TradeWind and WFEC is truly a win-win situation for all of us,” he added.
“When the Rocky Ridge Wind Project is operational and added to WFEC’s three other wind energy purchase agreements, approximately 15 percent of WFEC’s total annual electricity production will come from power purchase agreements with wind farm generators in Oklahoma,” Roulet pointed out.
“The Rocky Ridge Wind Project is a great example of economic and environmental policies working together with private industry to benefit the people of Oklahoma,” said Lt. Governor Jari Askins. “Our state is blessed with an abundant wind resource. The development of this sustainable resource continues and diversifies Oklahoma’s leadership position in energy production and positions our state for greater economic growth in the 21st century. I commend TradeWind Energy and WFEC for their foresight and extraordinary investment in Oklahoma.”
ABOUT TRADEWIND ENERGY
TradeWind Energy, LLC, is one of the largest independent wind 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 8,000 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. For more information, visit www.tradewindenergy.com.
ABOUT WESTERN FARMERS ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE
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.
Laurie Roberts, Parris Communications
Western Farmers Electric Cooperative