Largest Wind Farm in California Spins Ahead

In another example that wind power is the fastest growing energy industry, another industrial-sized wind farm has been completed and is now sending clean renewable energy into the California energy grid.

Rio Vista, California – September 22, 2003 [] FPL Energy, and PPM Energy, joined about 150 guests near Rio Vista to dedicate FPL Energy’s High Winds Energy Center located along the Montezuma Hills in Solano County, California. The 162 MW facility will be capable of generating enough electricity to power nearly 75,000 homes. State Sen. Byron Sher, California Energy Commission Executive Director Robert Therkelsen and California ISO Vice President Randy Abernathy joined FPL Energy’s Senior Vice President of Development Michael O’Sullivan and PPM Energy Chief Executive Officer Terry Hudgens and more than 150 local and regional guests to celebrate the commercial operation of the High Winds Energy Center and the organizations that helped bring the facility to California. “The High Winds Energy Center is much more than just one of the largest wind farm in California. It’s a demonstration of how, when people bring their skills, knowledge and commitment together, something good can happen,” O’Sullivan said. A lot of people worked on this project and the result is a facility of which we can all be proud.” Construction of the initial 81 wind turbines at the wind farm, each more than 198 feet tall to the center of the blade hub, began late in 2002. The initial 81 turbines began commercial operation in September 2003. The company expects to complete a previously announced expansion of the facility by the end of the year. PPM Energy purchases all of the output from the facility under a long-term contract and markets the output to wholesale customers including the cities of Sacramento, Pasadena, Anaheim, Glendale, Azusa, Colton and others. “California is committed to 20 percent of its electricity being generated from renewable energy by 2010,” said Therkelsen. “We have installed more than 1,800 megawatts from wind power and by adding improved technology at wind farms like this one, we will easily meet our goal.” Also at the dedication, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) presented state Sen. Byron Sher with the American Wind Energy Association Special Achievement Award, “for providing the legislative leadership that will result in substantial amounts of new clean energy serving the state of California.” Passage of a significant Renewables Portfolio Standard for the state is an enormous accomplishment that would never have become a reality without Sen. Sher’s leadership, according to the association. “California transmission and market rules give wind energy the opportunity to compete on a fair basis with other resources and PPM would like to see other regions adopt similar transmission rules that help us bring cost-competitive, reliable, clean wind power to the market,” said Hudgens.
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