Indiana’s ranking as the fastest growing state in the nation for wind power growth over the past 24 months has received another boost as officials from EDP, EDP Renewables, and Horizon Wind Energy, the U.S. subsidiary of EDP Renewables (EDPR), the world’s fourth largest wind energy player, stood alongside state and local dignitaries and project landowners in Brookston, Indiana to commemorate the start of operations at the Meadow Lake I Wind Farm.
Phase one of the project, which is located in White County, has an installed capacity of 200 megawatts — enough to power approximately 60,000 average Indiana homes with clean, renewable energy each year.
“We are delighted to begin converting the wind that blows across these expansive fields into renewable electricity,” said Antonio Mexia, CEO of EDP and Chairman of EDP Renewables, adding that the Meadow Lake I Wind Farm began commercial operation last month. “In doing so, we will be playing a leading role helping reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, while improving our air quality and leaving the environment a better place for our children.”
One of only a handful of operating wind farms in the Hoosier State, Meadow Lake I comprises 121 Vestas V82 1.65 MW turbines, each of which stand 262-feet tall. Electricity generated by the turbines’ three-bladed rotors, which span 269 feet and rotate at 14 revolutions per minute, is being sold into the regional wholesale market. The associated energy credits are being used by businesses and organizations to comply with state renewable energy mandates or to voluntarily reduce the environmental impact of their operations.
Gabriel Alonso, CEO of Horizon Wind Energy stated, “We are grateful to our partners for their support in making this project a reality. This includes Governor Mitch Daniels, who has actively promoted wind power development in Indiana, our 200 supportive landowners, and state residents in favor of generating at least 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021.”
The project’s second phase has a proposed installed capacity of 99 MW — enough to power 30,000 average Indiana homes annually with clean energy. Horizon Wind Energy’s development team is working on additional phases that could potentially have an installed capacity of up to 700 additional MW in White and Benton Counties.
When combined, the first two phases of Meadow Lake Wind Farm, which rest on 37,000 acres, will prevent the annual emission of 960,000 tons of carbon dioxide, a contributor to climate change; nearly 3.3 million pounds of nitrogen oxide, which causes smog; and, 12.5 million pounds of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain. The annual environmental benefits are equivalent to taking 104,000 cars off of the road.
“Indiana is becoming a leader in wind energy production, bringing many economic benefits to our state, helping to create jobs and increasing the use of clean, renewable energy,” added State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield).
As the nation continues to rebound from the devastating recession, Meadow Lake I Wind Farm has been a boon for local job seekers creating more than 450 temporary jobs during construction and 10 permanent, full-time jobs in operations. The project has also yielded significant economic benefits to the community in the form of payments to landowners, local spending, and annual community investment.
According to June 2009 statistics from the American Wind Energy Association, Indiana is an emerging player in the U.S. wind energy market. The state, which ranks 16th in the nation by existing capacity, has 604.15 MW currently under construction.
In Indiana, Horizon has regional offices in Brookston,in White County and Indianapolis and has 200 MW in operations, as well as over 99 MW in construction and over 1,300 MW in development throughout the State.
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