Austin’s Cielo Wind Power announced the sale of its 100% interest in the Spinning Spur Wind Ranch project to enXco yesterday, the San Diego-based renewable energy project development arm of France’s EDF Energies Nouvelles, according to an enXco press release.
Located on a 28,420-acre site about 30 miles west of Amarillo outside Vega in Oldham County, enXco expects to have the 161-MW project producing clean, renewable wind energy by December this year in order to qualify for the federal government wind energy production tax credit (PTC), which is due to expire at year-end.
“This project is a direct result of the job-creating Federal incentives for wind power that currently stand to expire at the end of 2012 and local incentives from Oldham County and area schools,” said Walter Hornaday, Cielo chairman and president.
“Spinning Spur will deliver long term pollution-free wind energy to Southwestern Public Service Company and trigger significant economic development through the creation of both Texas and New Mexico based construction jobs. We are pleased to work with enXco, a leading North American project developer and operations and maintenance company, to bring this valuable project to fruition.”
Accelerated Construction, Project Costs, Power Purchase Agreement
Electricity produced at Spinning Spur will be sold to Xcel Energy’s Southwestern Public Service under the terms of a 15-year power purchase agreement. Spinning Spur is expected to produce some 650,000 MWh of clean energy annually, enough to power more than 54,000 households. In addition to adding to Southwestern’s already available 1-gigawatt (GW) supply of clean, renewable electricity, the utility will earn Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Fees paid to landowners could exceed $1 million during construction while generating additional green jobs.
All told, project construction costs are estimated at $322 million, or $2 million per MW. That includes turbines (from 1/3 to 1/2 the total cost), transportation, legal fees, rights of way, foundations and roads, as well as all other costs, West Texas A&M Alternative Energy Institute’s Ken Starcher told Amarillo Globe News’ Kevin Welch.
Though selling ownership, Cielo will carry on as Spinning Spur’s construction manager. North Dakota’s Wanzek Construction is the project contractor. The construction schedule is an ambitious one. Seventy 2.3-MW Siemens’ wind turbines will be erected on the site. A Wanzek construction crew of 120 will carry out the construction. Construction of 1 MW of wind turbine capacity per day is a rule of thumb for accelerated construction in the industry, West Texas A&M’s Starcher pointed out.
enXco’s Texas wind energy project purchase follows enXco’s Jan. 17 announcement of a supply contract with Japan’s Solar Frontier for as much as 150 megawatts (MW)-worth of thin-film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenide) solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, the largest such contract to date. The CIGS modules will be installed at enXco’s Catalina Solar Project in Kern County, California.
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