First Commercial Wind Power Plant Slated for Arizona
March 3, 2004
APS, Arizona's largest electric utility, announced on February 25th that it will partner with Western Wind Energy Corporation, a Canadian company, to build the state's first commercial wind power plant. The Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center will be located near the New Mexico border in east-central Arizona, about 5 miles east of St. Johns. The wind energy facility will consist of ten 1.5-megawatt wind turbines for a total generating capacity of 15 megawatts. APS expects construction to begin in September, and the plant should begin producing power before year-end.
APS is pursuing wind power in part to meet the requirements of the state's Environmental Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to generate 1.1 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2007. In early February, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) completed a review of the standard and voted to continue with that plan. To meet that goal, APS also fired up a 3-megawatt biomass power plant in Eager, Arizona, on February 17th. See the press releases from APS and the ACC.
APS' new wind and biomass energy power plants will soon be entered in a new database of renewable energy generators in the West, thanks to the combined efforts of the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Western Governors' Association (WGA). The Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) will cover all of the "Western interconnection" electrical grid, which includes 11 Western states, two Canadian provinces, and northern Baja California. WGA and the CEC expect the system to be operating by 2005 and plan to use it to help implement and verify renewable energy requirements throughout the West. See the WREGIS Web site and the WGA press release (PDF 41 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.