The largest onshore wind farm in America is developing in northern Oklahoma, and it’s charging up local rural economies with cheap energy and high-paying jobs. Invenergy, the privately-held firm building the farm, has chosen American renewable energy giant, General Electric Renewables, to supply the wind turbines.
Invenergy’s 1.48 Gigawatt North Central Wind Energy Facilities will be made up of three separate wind farms, and the first of these is expected to begin generating power as early as December of 2021. Generating over 6 million Megawatt Hours annually, the project will also save utility customers $3 billion while paying out $680 million in property taxes through the life of the project, according to American Electric Power (AEP). AEP also estimates the project will support the creation of 14,300 jobs in the first 5 years alone.
The 999 Megawatt Traverse Wind Energy Center, the 287 Megawatt Maverick Wind Energy Center, and the 199 Megawatt Sundance Wind Energy Center individually represent a massive investment in clean energy in Oklahoma. The Traverse Wind Energy Center is poised to become the largest individual wind farm in the United States. In total the three wind farms represent a $2 billion investment for Invenergy, who will finance, construct, and perform maintenance for the first 10 years of the projects.
In late March, Invenergy secured financing to begin construction on the three wind farms, which will provide enough energy to power 440,000 American homes.“The close of construction financing for the Traverse Wind project, Invenergy’s largest wind development to date, is a significant milestone,” Meghan Schultz, Senior Vice President, Finance and Capital Markets at Invenergy, said in a press release. “This transaction, in addition to the recent Maverick and Sundance financial closings, is a testament to Invenergy’s strong lender relationships and financing capabilities as well as the compelling value of wind investments.”
As soon as the projects begin producing commercial energy, the ownership will transfer to AEP who will serve customers of the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. As the third-highest state in the U.S. in terms of installed wind capacity, Oklahoma’s cooperation in sharing that renewable energy with its neighboring states represents the popularity of clean energy in the U.S. within the utility market. With supply chains stressed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Invenergy turned to a client they could rely on for the construction of this landmark project: General Electric.
“We have a long partnership with Invenergy and AEP and look forward to working closely with them to help bring a significant amount of affordable, sustainable energy to the region,” Tim White, GE Renewable Energy’s CEO, Onshore Americas, shared. “As the US and the world have adopted increasing amounts of renewable energy, Invenergy and GE are helping to accelerate this change by being the partners of choice for utilities and other leading companies that want to be part of the ongoing and critical transition to affordable, sustainable renewable energy.“
The North Central Wind Energy Facilities will be the second wind project in the Western hemisphere over 1 Gigawatt (or 1000 Megawatts) that GE is involved with. For the third year in a row, GE Renewable Energy was recognized as the top US wind turbine manufacturer by the American Clean Power Association. The North Central Wind Energy Facilities demonstrate the potential for wind energy in the United States. American-made turbines continue to support the job creation and economic growth of wind energy generation, and the size of the project means energy savings for Oklahoma as well as its neighboring states.