22 February 2006 – Cielo Wind Power of Austin, Texas and Edison Mission Group of Irvine, California announced that they have finalized an agreement to build the Wildorado Wind Ranch located in Potter, Oldham, and Randall Counties, Texas.
The Wildorado Wind Ranch will be the largest single wind power facility yet to be built in the Southwest Power Pool serving parts of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. All of the energy supplied from the project will be delivered to Xcel Energy’s regional utility, Southwestern Public Service Company, under a long-term contract.
The 161 MW first phase of the Wildorado Wind Ranch has facilities located in three counties in North Texas. The vision of officials in Oldham, Potter, and Randall Counties was instrumental in bringing the project to this area. “Cielo hopes to reciprocate upon the support provided by these officials by maximizing the use of local contractors and continuing to work to bring even more wind power development to this area in the future” stated Cielo President, Walt Hornaday.
The project will use 70 wind turbine generators supplied by Siemens Power Generation. The turbines, which represent the latest in equipment design, are each rated at a nameplate capacity of 2.3 MW. The height to the top of the sweep of the blades reaches 450 feet above the ground. Together they will generate enough electricity to meet the energy needs of more than 50 000 homes served by Xcel’s Southwestern Public Service Company.
Cielo is the largest independently owned wind power developer in the Southwestern US Based in Austin, Texas, Cielo maintains a singular focus on developing wind power facilities like the Wildorado Wind Ranch. Wind Ranch is a trademark licensed to the project that represents unique steps Cielo takes to minimize the impact on farming, ranching, and natural uses of the land together with optimizing the technical performance of the wind turbine equipment.
Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Edison Mission Group invested in its first wind energy project in 1998. EMG is a subsidiary of Rosemead, Calif.-based Edison International, an electric power generator and distributor and an investor in infrastructure and renewable energy projects with assets totaling more than $36 billion.
To date, EMG has acquired and developed a portfolio of 477 MW of wind energy at TEN projects in Iowa, Minnesota and New Mexico, and, now, Texas. The 161 MW Wildorado Wind Ranch represents the single largest investment in a wind power facility to date by EMG. In addition, EMG is working with local developers to permit a 90 MW project in Maine and has entered into a joint development agreement that is expected to result in several new projects in the Midwest.
“Edison Mission Group continues to build a significant wind energy portfolio across the country,” said EMG CEO Ted Craver. “The Wildorado Wind Ranch will provide Texas with a valuable source of environmentally friendly electricity. In this time of rising energy costs, it is especially important that we develop both new capacity and more diversity in our energy supply,” Craver added.
The lack of fuel diversity and dependence on fossil fuels is a growing concern throughout the country. Wind generation projects such as the Wildorado Wind Ranch will provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel generation and can decrease reliance on foreign supplies of energy, while also reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are pleased to be working with a partner who shares Cielo’s strong commitment to providing Texas with additional clean, renewable wind energy and supporting EMG’s team of experienced professionals to ensure the project’s long term success” said Cielo’s Vice President of Development, Tom Houle.
The Wildorado Wind Ranchexpects construction to begin in the coming months with commercial operations to begin in early 2007. M. A. Mortenson Company has been selected as the general contractor for engineering, procurement and construction of the balance of plant. At the completion of construction, Edison Mission Group will own and operate the facility while Cielo will retain a minority interest in the facility.