#184. More Wind News

Posted on | The Agurban
More Wind News

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels joined officials from Dominion and BP Alternative Energy on May 29, 2008 at a ceremony to celebrate the construction of the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, IN, located about 90 miles northwest of Indianapolis. The project will be built in phases, eventually generating a total of 750 megawatts (MW) of wind energy capacity, making it the largest wind farm in the state.

The first phase will utilize 222 wind turbines – 182 Vestas V-82 1.65-MW turbines and 40 Clipper C-96 2.5-MW turbines – to produce 400 MW of electricity. That phase is expected to be operational by the end of this year. The second phase is expected to generate an additional 350 MW, bringing the total project output to 750 MW. Construction of the second phase could begin as early as 2009. Dominion and BP are partners for 650 MW of the 750-MW site, with BP retaining sole ownership of 100 MW.

Once operational, Dominion says Fowler Ridge will be one of the largest wind power facilities in the world and will generate enough electricity to power more than 200,000 homes. The wind farm is also expected to provide revenue to local landowners, in the form of leases, and tax revenue to local governments. The project will also create new jobs. Phase I is expected to employ approximately 350 workers during peak construction and a full-time staff of more than 12 workers who will monitor and maintain the site after Phase I has become fully operational.

Wind has been getting a lot of “air” lately. (Sorry.) The legendary entrepreneur, philanthropist and billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens unveiled his new energy plan in the Wall Street Journal on July 9, 2008. Pickens said the impetus for his plan is the country’s dangerous reliance on foreign oil, stating, “It (America’s dependence on imported oil) is the single biggest problem facing America today.”

Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains states are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world, with the “wind corridor” stretching from the Canadian border to West Texas. The Department of Energy reports that 20% of America’s electricity can come from wind.

Pickens’ company, Mesa Power, recently announced a $2 billion investment as the first step in a multibillion-dollar plan to build the world’s largest wind farm in Pampa, Texas. At 4,000 megawatts – the equivalent combined output of four large coal-fire plants – the production of the completed Pampa facility will double the wind energy output of the United States. 

If a renowned oilman believes so strongly in wind energy, should the rest of us?