Idaho turns on 183 MW of wind power

Hagerman, Idaho, February 3, 2011 — More than 10,000 acres of rural land will now also host Idaho’s largest portfolio of wind farms through a partnership of GE Energy Financial Services, Exergy Development Group, Atlantic Power Corp. and Reunion Power.

Construction was completed in just five months, resulting in the installation of 122 of GE’s 1.5 MW turbines. The wind farms are now operational and delivering clean energy to Idaho Power Co. and its customers, while also bringing jobs to the region.

The wind farms are capable of generating 183 MW of energy 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.

The project created over 300 construction jobs, far in excess of the originally anticipated 175 jobs. About 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 U.S. for one year.

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 Co., 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 Co. under 20-year agreements.

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