Project Development, Wind Power

Duke To Build 200-MW Top of the World Wind Farm, Ninth in the US

Duke Energy said this week that it plans to build and operate a 200-megawatt (MW) wind energy project near Casper, Wyoming. Known as the Top of the World Windpower Project, it will be the company’s ninth U.S. wind farm and its fourth in Wyoming.

Duke Energy will construct the Top of the World project on approximately 17,000 acres of private and public land it holds under long-term lease in Converse County. The project could reach commercial operation by the end of 2010.

PacifiCorp, which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, will purchase all of the electricity generated by the Top of the World project and the associated renewable energy credits (RECs) as part of a 20-year power purchase agreement.

PacifiCorp previously contracted to buy all of the output and RECs from Duke Energy’s nearby 99-megawatt (MW) Campbell Hill Windpower Project, scheduled to come on line later this year.

“We’ve always believed Duke Energy could become a major player in the wind power industry if we adhered to our strategy for organic as well as opportunistic growth,” said Wouter van Kempen, president of Duke Energy Generation Services (DEGS), a business unit of Duke Energy that owns and develops renewable energy assets. “Including Top of the World – which will be our second-largest renewable energy facility – we’ll have committed to four new wind projects totaling more than 360 megawatts this year alone.”

Duke Energy expects to start construction of the Top of the World project in late 2009 or early 2010, upon receipt of all necessary permits. The project will feature at least 66 G.E. turbines with a capaity of 1.5 MW each. These units represent the balance of turbines Duke Energy arranged to purchase from G.E. in a procurement order announced in September 2008. Negotiations for the remainder of the wind turbine supply to be used at Top of the World are underway.