TRACY, Calif. – State and local leaders joined executives from NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE), and Sonoma Clean Power today to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Golden Hills North Wind Energy Center.
“This project is yet another example of how California is leading the way to a clean energy future,” said California Energy Commissioner, David Hochschild. “Replacing some of the earliest wind technology with modern, efficient turbines, and allowing an opportunity for a public utility like Sonoma Clean Power to invest directly in clean energy for its citizens helps both reduce the cost of electricity and the impact of facilities like this on our environment.”
The Golden Hills North wind project is a complete repowering which calls for the removal of 283 30-year-old wind turbines and their replacement with just 20 2.3 megawatt GE turbines, capable of generating even more power with twice the efficiency of the previous wind project. The wind project will have a generating capacity of 46 MW, enough to power more than 13,500 homes. As part of a 20-year power purchase agreement, the project will serve customers of Sonoma Clean Power with clean, renewable energy.
“Repowered wind facilities carry multiple benefits,” offered Geof Syphers, Sonoma Clean Power’s CEO. “One modern wind turbine replaces 21 of the old-style turbines, producing more energy. This is low-cost, clean electricity that will serve our customers of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.”
“We are very pleased to partner with Sonoma Clean Power on this wind energy repowering, which allows us to breathe new life into an old project, reduce the impact on the environment and provide good jobs and meaningful economic benefits for the local economy,” said Daryl Hart, director of development for NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. An affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources owns and will operate the Golden Hills North wind project.
In an ongoing effort to advance California’s environmental preservation efforts, NextEra Energy Resources has contributed more than $1.7 million to date toward wildlife preservation and research and will contribute approximately $500,000 more once the Golden Hills North project is operational. The investment in research will help with the continual improvement of turbine siting as well as further studies on avian populations.
“NextEra Energy Resources’ repowering projects in the Altamont Pass provide a good model for reducing avian mortality that we hope other wind developers will follow,” said Michael Lynes, director of public policy for the Audubon Society of California. “By incorporating pre-project scientific studies and avian use modeling into their siting methods, NextEra Energy Resources is reducing the potential for impacts to many bird species. This is a good example of how a company can work constructively with environmental partners to reduce impacts to local wildlife while also generating renewable energy.”
The project will create a significant economic boost for Alameda County, creating hundreds of union jobs during the construction phase, beginning this month, and will provide full-time employment opportunities once the project is operational at the end of 2017. The project will provide more than $10 million in property tax benefits to Alameda County over its projected 30-year operational life. From labor and materials, to housing, health care and construction - a wide variety of local businesses will benefit from the influx of economic activity.
NextEra Energy Resources
NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (together with its affiliated entities, "NextEra Energy Resources"), is a clean energy leader and is one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S., with approximately 19,990 megawatts of generating capacity, which includes megawatts associated with noncontrolling interests related to NextEra Energy Partners, LP (NYSE: NEP), primarily in 29 states and Canada as of year-end 2016. NextEra Energy Resources, together with its affiliated entities, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. The business operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet, which is one of the largest in the United States. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Florida-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit www.NextEraEnergyResources.com.
Sonoma Clean Power
Sonoma Clean Power is a not-for-profit public agency, providing cleaner electricity at competitive rates and promoting local solutions to climate change. SCP serves residential and commercial customers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. For more information, visit sonomacleanpower.org or call 1 (855) 202-2139.