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GE Boosts Wind Power Portfolio with Oklahoma Investment

Words by Leon Kaye

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.

The tycoon T. Boone Pickens may have given up on wind, but GE is still charging ahead with its clean energy agenda.

Editor: Don’t miss GE’s Technology for Good series.

Leon Kaye is a journalist, sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable Business and Inhabitat. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo courtesy GE ecomagination.

Leon Kaye headshotLeon Kaye

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

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