Construction gets underway at 102MW wind project in Utah

Construction is set to get underway soon on the second phase of the Milford Wind Corridor wind project in Utah.

US Secretary for the Interior, Ken Salazar, said on Monday that the 102-megawatt wind project should begin in the next few days, to be completed by the end of the year.

The project will see 68 wind turbines installed in a project approved by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management earlier this year.

The first phase of the Milford Wind Corridor – Utah's largest wind project – saw 97 turbines starting up in November 2009, producing 204MW of renewable energy for the Southern California Public Power Authority.

Developer First Wind invested more than $500 million in the first phase of the project, creating 250 development and construction jobs.

Salazar toured the Milford Wind Corridor Phase 1 project on Monday, meeting First Wind officials including CEO Paul Gaynor.

Sec. Salazar said: "This project is an outstanding example of cooperation between federal agencies, the local community and private industry.

"It is the first wind energy development project in the state of Utah involving federal lands and our Bureau of Land Management, which administers those lands, used an innovative, streamlined process to expedite project approval."

Mr Gaynor said: "This project was made possible through the tremendous support from numerous parties including the Department of the Interior and the BLM along with state and local officials and the people of Millard and Beaver counties.

"It is for this reason that it is very gratifying to provide the Secretary and his staff a first-hand look at this very successful renewable energy project."


During his visit to Utah this week, Secretary Salazar also revealed that the Bureau of Land Management has consented to an expansion of the Blundell Geothermal Plant owned by Oregon utility PacifiCorp.

The 32MW facility is being upgraded to improve its efficiency and performance.

Two new geothermal wells are being added to the site to increase the plant's flexibility and reliability.

Sec. Salazar said Utah had "excellent" geothermal opportunities and that the Bureau of Land Management had responded to growing interest in this renewable energy by working with state agencies to identify and develop additional deep fields and wells around the state,

Utah has issued 48 leases for geothermal projects since 2005, covering 162,000 acres.