March 8, 2004

BC's Western Wind to help build Arizona's first commercial wind farm

A Canadian company is joining forces with an Arizona electric utility to build the state's first commercial wind farm. Western Wind Energy, based in Coquitlam, BC and APS, Arizona's largest electricity utility, plan to build a 15-megawatt (MW) wind turbine generating facility near St Johns, about 200 miles northeast of Phoenix.

Western Wind will construct and operate the Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center on 400 acres of land it owns in the vicinity of St Johns. APS will purchase the power--enough for up to 3,000 average-size homes--and will acquire the associated green credits. Project construction is scheduled to begin in September, with first output expected by the end of the year.

The Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center will be situated on a mesa rising approximately 800 feet above the surrounding lands. The wind farm will consist of ten 1.5-MW units more than 300 feet in height. The three blades on each wind generator will rotate 18 to 24 revolutions per minute. The rotation speed, combined with the design of the generators, will pose minimal risk to birds that fly in the area.

In preparation for its partnership with APS, Western Wind monitored wind at the Arizona location for more than a year. With collecting elevations as high as 200 feet, the companies estimate the long-term capacity factor to be at least 24%, which is considered suitable for such a project.

"From the start, we realized the tremendous potential of the Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center presented to Arizona," said Jeff Ciachurski, Western Wind president and CEO. "It was just a matter of finding the right partner. We know APS is committed to utilizing the benefits wind energy provides to the state of Arizona.

"Building a wind park in Arizona provides energy price stability, environmental stewardship, energy security in the form of reduced dependence on foreign fuels, and new jobs that will be created in the state of Arizona," he added.

"We are focused on developing renewable energy sources in Arizona, and we believe the Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center is an exciting opportunity to develop Arizona's first wind farm," said Ed Fox, APS vice president of communications, environment and safety.

In addition to generating electricity for APS customers, the wind farm will help the utility meet the goals of the Arizona Corporation Commission's Environmental Portfolio Standard, which encourages APS to generate 1.1% of its energy through renewable sources and 60% through solar. APS owns and operates approximately 4.5 MW of solar generation around the state and is a partner in a 3-MW biomass plant in Eager, Arizona, which came on line in mid-February.

APS, a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital, is based in Phoenix and serves about 902,000 customers in 11 of the state's 15 counties.

Based in Coquitlam, BC, Western Wind Energy has offices in Tucson, Arizona and Tehachapi Pass, California, as well as a New Brunswick affiliate, Eastern Wind Power, in Quispamsis. The firm's management team has a combined total of approximately 23 years of experience in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of wind energy electrical generation facilities in central California. More information is available from Mike Boyd at Western Wind Energy in Tucson, 520/275-0979, E-mail, Web site

Table of Contents  | Top of Page

  Ecolog Network