Milford High School shop teacher Andy Swapp always wanted to know about the wind around townSo in 2000, he established a wind-measuring tower and two years later he received a knock on his door from First Wind officials interested in a possible wind farm.
On Friday that project moved toward reality when the company and government officials broke ground on a wind farm’s first phase that after completion will have 97 wind turbines used to generate power for 247,000 Southern California homes.
“This is a big moment for us,” said First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor during a ceremony at the site, located about 10 miles northeast of Milford. “This is our largest project to date and largest [wind farm] in Utah.”
Gaynor said the $400 million project will be an economic boom for area residents and private land owners the company leases from.
He said the company is also building 88 miles of transmission lines to a substation at the Intermountain Power Project near Delta from where it will be sent to Southern California.
Transmission lines can handle 1,000 megawatts of electricity, more than three times the 300 megawatts to be produced by the project’s first phase.
“We hope more [utilities] sign up,” Gaynor said.
Krista Kisch, a First Wind vice president, said the company hopes to add to its customer base including Utah buyers.
Beaver County Commission Chair Donald Wilden said a lot of effort went into bringing the project to the county.
He said the $400 million will greatly increase assessed value of taxable property in county that currently sits at $596 million.
“I always imagined it would happen, but when I saw tractor trailers hauling the blades [for the turbines], I knew it is here now,” Wilden said. “The future is bright.”
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