SANTA ISABEL, Puerto Rico, October 29, 2012 — Pattern Energy’s Finca de Viento Santa Isabel (FVSI) wind project began producing clean energy, as Puerto Rico Governor Luis G. Fortuño officially started operations at the first commercial-scale wind power project in Puerto Rico, and largest in the Caribbean.
Fortuño also announced that, thanks to a recent agreement between Pattern and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), FVSI will now produce up to 95 megawatts (MW) of clean renewable energy—20 MW more than it was originally slated to produce—without any increase to the project size.
The increased output will further advance the Administration’s commitment to reduce the Island’s dependence on oil by diversifying energy sources to produce cheaper, cleaner and safer energy.
“Today, Puerto Rico takes a giant step forward towards our energy diversification goals. Finca de Viento Santa Isabel, a state-of-the-art facility without precedent in the Caribbean, will start producing enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 30,000 homes, contributing to the production of cleaner, safer and cheaper energy for everyone in Puerto Rico,” said Fortuño during the ceremony held at the project site in the southern municipality of Santa Isabel.
“This is major milestone for renewable energy production in Puerto Rico, an outstanding achievement five years in the making and one that we are very proud to have accomplished in close collaboration with our local partners, with the help of the good people of Santa Isabel and the full support of Governor Fortuño and his team,” said Hunter Armistead, Executive Director of Pattern Energy.
Armistead explained that Finca de Viento Santa Isabel, originally contracted to produce 75 MW of renewable energy, will now be able to produce up to 95 MW, enough to power the equivalent of 30,000 average homes. The 20 MW increment is significant as it is equivalent to the production of an average medium-sized renewable energy project.
“Without having to erect a single additional turbine, this facility now injects another 20 MW, or an additional 15 percent, of clean energy into Puerto Rico’s power grid,” said Armistead. “Through collaboration with PREPA, we were able to increase the power generation capacity, helping the island get closer to its clean energy goals and enhancing the benefits this project will provide for the generations of Puerto Ricans to come,” he added.
The Fortuño Administration has set forth an aggressive plan to diversify Puerto Rico’s energy sources to comply with the law and exceed the goal of generating 12% of energy by renewable energy by 2015, 15 percent by 2020 and 20 percent by 2035. Fortuño emphasized that there are renewable energy projects in operation and under construction in several areas of the island that constitute over 220MW of energy from clean, renewable sources.
“As in Santa Isabel today, we recently inaugurated the AES Ilumina solar project in Guayama. Other projects are soon coming to completion, such as Gestamp’s wind farm in Punta Lima, Naguabo. Other projects around the island currently under construction will soon be online, making our system stronger and more diverse. That will help us continue our efforts to lower the energy production costs on the Island,” said PREPA executive director Josué Colón.
“Projects such as this one are not only good for the environment, they are good for our economy,” said Fortuño. “Finca de Viento Santa Isabel alone has brought a $250 million private investment into our economy, provided jobs for 350 Puerto Ricans—almost double of the original projection—and will continue to generate income and contribute to our local economy for the next 20 years,” he added.
Finca de Viento Santa Isabel is the first wind power project developed by Pattern Energy in the Caribbean. It is comprised of 44 state-of-the-art Siemens SWT-2.3-108 wind turbines with the capacity to generate up to 95 MW. Pattern has entered into a 20-year Power Purchase and Operating Agreement with the PREPA for all of the clean energy generated from the project.