Milford Wind Corridor Project, United States of America


Milford Wind Corridor (MWC) is a wind farm being constructed in Milford, Utah, US. The farm is located in Beaver and Millard counties. It is the largest wind-based renewable energy facility in Utah. First Wind, a wind power company based in the US, owns and operates the project.

The entire wind farm is capable of generating about 300MW. The first phase of the project was completed and began commercial operations in November 2009, generating 203.5MW of electricity. MWC generates domestic, cost competitive, emission-free energy. The farm will provide environmental and economic benefits to the region. The project created more than 250 development and construction jobs during the first phase of construction.

In December 2007, a 20-year power purchase agreement was signed by First Wind with Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA). It was signed on behalf of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the cities of Burbank and Pasadena. After the successful commissioning of phase I, First Wind announced the construction of Milford Wind Corridor Phase II in April 2010. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2010.

Details

The farm occupies public and private land. The public land is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The MWC project became the first wind energy facility to be licensed by the Bureau of Land Management in the western US.

"About 46 miles of underground lines were laid for the electricity collection system."

MWC phase-I incorporates 97 turbines, of which 58 are 2.5MW each and supplied by Clipper Liberty, and 39 are of 1.5MW and supplied by General Electric. All the turbines are connected to each other and the facility's substation by a 34.5kV underground line. About 46 miles of underground lines were laid for the electricity collection system. Power from the 300MW facility is interconnected to Intermountain Power Plant (IPP) substation in Delta, Utah. A new 88-mile long, 345kV transmission line will connect the facility and substation. The line can carry up to 1,000MW.

The project includes 13 meteorological towers, a facility collector substation, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system and about 400 transmission structures. The flow of electricity from MWC to the electric grid will be controlled by the substations.

Phase II will have 68 General Electric turbines generating 102MW of electricity through a 345kV transmission line. The transmission line will be passing through 90 miles of lands administered by Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, State of Utah and other privately-owned lands in several counties.

Milford Wind Corridor Construction

Initial work at the farm included pouring foundations for the turbines. The first turbine tower was built in early June 2009 and its first set of blades was fixed on 29 June 2009.

The pieces of the turbines, including poles, rotors, blades and nacelles, were installed on pads created by using specialised cranes. Nacelles housing generators and gearboxes were fixed on top of each turbine's tower.

RMT, an engineering and construction company, was chosen as the general contractor and was awarded a contract involving balance-of-plant engineering and construction work. The construction work was carried out by RMT's WindConnect team.

RMT provided engineering, procurement, and construction services to the access roads, crane pads, crane paths and associated infrastructure. RMT was also engaged in work related to the substation, maintenance and the erection and mechanical completion of turbine generators. It also managed the set-up of an 88-mile, 345kV overhead generator lead.

Work on the transmission line connecting MWC to Intermountain Power Plant began in March 2009. The set-up of 85 % of the lines was completed by April 2009.

Sturgeon Electric, a subsidiary of the MYR Group and an electrical construction services provider, was involved in the building of transmission structures. Construction of the substation started in the first quarter of 2009.

Project finance

"Phase one of the project received $376m as a loan sanctioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland."

Phase one of the MWC project received $376m in the form of a loan sanctioned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Other financiers of the project include Banco Espirito Santo, Banco Santander, BNP Paribas, CoBank, HSH Nordbank, KeyBank, Société Générale and Credit Suisse.

The first phase of the project required about $86m for direct and indirect expenditures and was arranged by First Wind from its own funds. About $30m was directly spent while the remaining was spent indirectly on wages, taxes and other requirements.

Environmental benefits

The landowners and the community near the project site will gain income in the form of property tax revenues. The project enhances employment opportunities and acts as a source of clean energy.

MWC will reduce dependency on costly fossil fuels. A fossil fuels-based facility that generates an equivalent amount of power would consume about 940,000 barrels of oil per year or more than 267,000t of coal per year. Being a wind farm, the facility does not emit mercury, which means rivers and lakes will not be contaminated.