WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Community wind company OwnEnergy has closed a transaction for NextEra Energy Resources to acquire, construct and operate the Blackwell Wind Farm, an Oklahoma project developed by OwnEnergy and slated to be completed by the end of next year.
As reported last week, the clean, renewable energy produced at the facility will be sold under a long-term contract to Oklahoma Gas & Electric, which will use the output to supply Oklahoma State University. The Blackwell project is strategically located just up the road from the Stillwater campus. It will provide up to 150 jobs during construction and approximately three full-time operations jobs once the facility is completed, in addition to enhanced economic development for the region due to the community-wind nature of the project.
The Blackwell Wind Farm was initiated three years ago as a community wind project by a local landowner, David Savage, who partnered with OwnEnergy and other local investors. Savage had held an interest in renewable energy for some time when he met officials from OwnEnergy in 2008 at AWEA’s annual WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition. There, Savage learned about the company's focus on the community wind model, under which an ownership interest is retained in the community and profits are therefore funneled back locally, creating additional jobs, wages, business income and local pride. "This wind project will have a significant economic impact on the Blackwell community, and I am very pleased to have had a hand in making it happen," said Savage.
OwnEnergy will receive a royalty payment from the project throughout its life. Jacob Susman, founder and CEO, said, "This is an exciting opportunity for all the parties involved, including OwnEnergy, our local Blackwell partners and investors, OG&E, and Oklahoma State University."
Carl Levesque is the communications editor at AWEA. This article first appeared in the AWEA Windletter and was reprinted with permission from the American Wind Energy Association.