Apex building largest Oklahoma wind project

Apex Wind Energy recently began construction of the largest wind project in Oklahoma. At approximately 300 MW, the Canadian Hills Wind project, just outside of Oklahoma City, Okla., is expected to begin commercial operation late this year.

Upon completion, Canadian Hills will increase the state’s installed wind capacity by 15%.

In March, Apex finalized the sale of Canadian Hills to Atlantic Power Corp., while Atlantic simultaneously closed a $310m construction financing for the $470m project. The project broke ground in April and its first foundations were poured earlier this month.  Apex will manage construction of the Project and will retain a minority ownership interest.

“This is a good example of Apex’s strategy to develop and build high-value projects with our partners,” Mark Goodwin, president of Apex said in a statement.

American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) has signed long-term power purchase contracts totaling 201 MW. Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority has also signed a 25-year agreement for 49.2MW from the Canadian Hills Wind project and Grand River Dam Authority also has a long-term power contract.

During construction, the project will employ nearly 200 people, with 15-20 permanent jobs created to manage the project’s long-term operations. Blattner Energy, Inc. was selected to provide engineering, procurement, construction and balance of plant services. In addition to $1.8 million in annual payments to landowners, the Project is expected to generate on average over $2.4 million in annual tax revenue that will benefit six school districts in the area. 

The Canadian Hills Project will deploy REpower 2.05MW MM92 and Mitsubishi 2.4MW MWT102 wind turbines. 

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Oklahoma currently has 2,007 MW online, including 525 MW added in 2011. About 5% of the state’s electricity is provided by wind.

Its total capacity makes the state the eighth-highest wind generation in the U.S., as well as putting it in fifth place for capacity additions last year.