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Dry Lake, Arizona's First Wind Farm

Dry Lake Wind Farm in Arizona
Dry Lake, Arizona’s First Wind Farm

Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s leading wind power company, has opened Dry Lake, the first wind farm in Arizona to come on stream. Located in Navajo County, the facility has 63 megawatts installed capacity distributed over 30 wind turbines that produce enough clean power to supply some 15,000 average-sized American homes. Iberdrola Renovables has reached an agreement to sell the farm’s full output to Salt River Project, one of Arizona’s largest utilities, which will use it to supply the Phoenix metropolitan area.

The opening of Dry Lake was attended by Ken Salazar, US Secretary of the Interior, supporting the government’s support for renewable energy ushered in with Barack Obama’s move into the Oval Office. Also present at the opening was Martin Múgica, Executive Vice President of Iberdrola Renovables in the US, along with various political leaders, including Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick.

In addition, Iberdrola Renovables has completed construction of its Rugby wind farm in North Dakota which is currently undergoing testing. Its 149 MW installed capacity – distributed over 71 wind turbines of 2.1 MW each – will enable it to meet the electricity demand of 35,500 average-sized US homes.

The company thus continues expanding its foothold in the US, which now contributes more than 30% of its installed capacity, or 3,459 MW at the end of September 2009. The company, which is present in 20 states, has 34 wind farms in operation in the country.

The US represents one of Iberdrola Renovables main markets and is where a large part of its growth is concentrated. Forty-two percent of the company’s project pipeline – the largest in the world, exceeding 56,000 MW – is located there and the company employs more than 800 people locally.

The Obama administration’s support for renewable energies is one of keys to the sector’s future growth in the country. Among other things, the set of measures approved as part of the economic stimulus package have paved the way for financing projects, thanks to the introduction of grants as an incentive mechanism, temporarily, in lieu of production tax credits. The main difference lies in the fact that grants are paid based on the investment made and are paid out in cash by the US Treasury Department.

Iberdrola Renovables has been awarded a total of $546 million in grants for the eight wind farms included in its application. The Treasury Department has awarded more than $1,000 million in cash grants in the first two rounds of the stimulus programme.

Iberdrola Renovables operates in 23 countries and is the world’s leading wind energy company (according to New Energy Finance), with more than 10,477 MW of installed capacity at the end of September.

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