GE is ramping up its wind power business in the heart of oil country. This week the company announced that it bought a 51 percent stake in a $375 million wind farm north of Oklahoma City. The Italian company Enel Green Power, which is building the project, will hold the rest of the stake in the 235 megawatt wind farm.
For GE, its investment in the Chisholm View wind project both expands the partnership it has with Enel and its portfolio of 9.6 gigawatts of wind capacity it manages in the U.S. and across the globe.
The wind farm will be located outside Hunter, a small town of 173 people just south of the Kansas border. A transmission line runs through the project that electricity supplies the power grids in Oklahoma City and Wichita. But electricity generated by the wind farm will be supplied to Alabama Power Company, a utility that supplies electricity to 1.4 million customers in the U.S southeast.
Expected to be completed by the end of 2012, the wind farm will be eligible for a 2.2 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit under a federal subsidy that is set to expire on December 31. Enel has an option to increase its stake in the next year.
While GE Energy Financial Services is financing the project, GE Energy benefits from its 140 1.6 megawatt wind turbines that will snare the winds that soar above Oklahoma’s plains. The project is expected to add $5 million to local coffers annually between lease payments and taxes and create 150 construction jobs. Advocates of green jobs may want to temper their enthusiasm, however: the end result will be 15 permanent jobs.
According to a press release, power that the wind farm will generate will prevent the equivalent of 565,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually–or 110,000 cars off the road.
Photo courtesy GE ecomagination.