ENGIE North America announced the start of construction of the 196-MW East Fork Wind Project in Thomas County, Kansas. Located near the city of Colby in northwest Kansas, the East Fork Wind Project is the second phase of the larger Solomon Forks Wind Project (276 MW) currently under construction. The East Fork project, located immediately east of Solomon Forks, will provide clean energy to Brown-Forman under a PPA and has entered into a Proxy Revenue Swap with Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s specialist weather risk team, in collaboration with its partners at Nephila Climate.
With a total capital investment of approximately $228 million, the project will generate significant benefits to the local area, with annual payments to landowners under land easements, local job creation during both construction and commercial operation, purchases of local goods and services, donations to local schools, a scholarship fund established by East Fork with Colby Community College, and annual PILOT (payments in lieu of taxes) payments to Thomas County. Both the City of Colby and the larger Thomas County have been very supportive of the East Fork project and have contributed significantly to its success.
“East Fork is our third major project to break ground after ENGIE’s acquisition of the Infinity Renewables wind portfolio in February 2018, bringing our total megawatts under construction to nearly 700,” said Matt Riley, senior vice president and head of U.S. Wind Development at ENGIE North America and former CEO of Infinity Renewables. “It’s exciting to be part of a company driving renewable energy development at a meaningful scale. These wind projects provide much more than clean energy. They enable new economic, environmental, and educational opportunities that can make a positive difference in the communities where they reside.”
East Fork, which has been under active development for over 10 years, is part of the portfolio recently acquired by a subsidiary of ENGIE North America from Infinity Power Holdings, a joint venture between Infinity Renewables and MAP Energy. The project will use 72 GE turbines, each having a capacity of 2.72 MW. M.A. Mortenson Company has been selected as the construction general contractor. The project was originally developed by Airstream Energy, a developer with local roots in the community.