First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, recently commemorated the fifth anniversary of successful commercial operations of its Milford Wind I project, which spans Beaver and Millard Counties, Utah. Stretching through the desert in southern Utah just outside the town of Milford, in Beaver County, Milford Wind I consists of 97 operating wind turbines with a capacity of 204 megawatts (MW). The project was expanded in 2011 to add an additional 68 turbines and 102 MW of capacity. Combined, the two phases of the project have produced more than 2,650,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy since the first project began commercial operations on November 16, 2009.
The power for the Milford Wind Corridor is sold to the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) as its largest customer. As the largest operational utility-scale wind farm in the state of Utah, the combined 306 MW Milford Wind project provides power for the equivalent of about 60,000 homes. The power generated by the wind project is transmitted through a First Wind-built 88 mile transmission line, which connects with the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta and the Southern Transmission System, which brings the electricity into the Los Angeles metro area.
The project is located on land owned by School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) of Utah, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and some private landowners. The Milford project was the first utility-scale wind farm built on federal land.
Below is a summary of some of the notable milestones achieved during the five years of successful commercial operations at Milford Wind:
Operation and Environmental Highlights
· Since they went online, the combined Milford Wind projects have generated more than 2,650,000 (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity.
· The Milford Wind project avoids over 1,780,465 tons of CO2 emissions that would result from conventional regional generation sources in a typical year.
· A similar amount of energy produced at a coal-fired power plant would have used nearly 1.4 million tons of coal.
Economic and Community Benefits
· Milford Wind I created more than 250 development and construction jobs, and First Wind directly spent about $30 million with Utah-based businesses developing and building the first phase of the project and another $56 million in indirect spending such as wages, taxes and more.
· The combined 306 MW facility supports 28 full-time, on-site operations and maintenance jobs. Collectively, the Milford Wind project represents $85.5 million in investments in Utah businesses, labor and subcontractors.
· First Wind is an important and active member of the Milford community. First Wind annually funds the Milford Fourth of July fireworks and supports a number of organizations.
· The pilot scholarship for the First Wind Scholars program was launched in Beaver County, and continues to fund scholarships for local students in both Beaver and Millard counties.
First Wind is also developing eleven utility-scale solar projects with a combined capacity of 340 MW in Beaver and Iron counties that are expected to generate clean energy to power 100,000 Utah homes.