Clearway Energy Group and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice recently confirmed that construction is now underway on Black Rock, a 115 Megawatt (MW) wind farm that will span Grant and Mineral counties.
The $200 million project will create at least 200 construction jobs in addition to several permanent jobs after construction creating a positive economic impact on the local community in West Virginia’s northeastern region.
Upon its late 2021 completion, Black Rock will boost the state’s total wind power by nearly 15 percent and generate enough renewable energy to power 34,000 homes.
According to WVMetroNews, Clearway Energy CEO Craig Cornelius said that $52 million out of the $200 million will be spent on payroll and services during construction.
Clearway chose Virginia-based Bechtel and Maine-based Reed & Reed to build the wind farm in a joint venture.
“The Bechtel-Reed & Reed team will engineer, procure, and construct the farm,” Bechtel said in a press release. “The project will include twenty-three Siemens-Gamesa SG 5.0-145 wind turbines on 107.5-meter tall towers, producing 115 MW of electricity at the point interconnection to the First Energy electrical grid.”
Under long-term power purchase agreements, Black Rock will supply power to Toyota and American Electric Power – both of which are major employers in West Virginia.
“Once they’re running the power they provide to Toyota and AEP (American Electric Power) is going to make those project customers more cost-efficient and more sustainable and put them in a position to continue to grow their economic activities in the state,” Cornelius said, WVMetroNews reports.
“Partnering with Clearway to purchase wind energy in West Virginia aligns with our commitment to renewable energy and economic growth in a region where we’ve operated for over 20 years,” said Kevin Butt, senior director of environmental sustainability for Toyota Motor North America, in the Clearway release. “Black Rock directly contributes to the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 and will help us eliminate carbon emissions from our manufacturing operations.”
The wind farm will save 298,500 metric tons of carbon emissions once it goes live, according to Bechtel.
“This investment, this innovation, this diversification for West Virginia is amazing,” Gov. Justice said in a Clearway press release. “I want to thank Clearway for recognizing the potential in West Virginia and creating this wonderful investment in our people and our state. We are here to help you in every possible way.”
When Black Rock opens, Clearway will be one of the top taxpayers in Grant and Mineral counties with $5.7 million in property taxes being paid to the counties. Additionally, $9 million in business and occupation taxes will be paid to the state over the project’s duration.
Clearway has established the Black Rock Community Benefit Fund, which will donate $50,000 to local nonprofits every year throughout the project’s lifespan.
“West Virginia continues to support the diversification of our state’s economy and we are here to support this wonderful project,” said West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Ed Gaunch in the Clearway release. “We are delighted to see Clearway deepen its roots in the Mountain State.”