Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) said Dec. 15 that it has acquired access to 173 MW of additional wind capacity from the Drift Sand Wind and the Chisholm View II projects in Oklahoma, which began commercial operations in December.
The Drift Sand Wind Farm is located in Grady County, while the Chisholm View II Wind Farm is located in Grant and Garfield counties. The farms are owned and operated by Enel Green Power North America Inc. and are expected to generate around 720 million kWh annually.
Duane Highley, president/CEO of AECC, said the cooperative has always worked to add diverse resources, like wind, to its generation portfolio as fuel diversity helps stabilize energy prices for electric cooperative members. This wind capacity, along with AECC’s other wind agreements, three existing run-of-the-river hydroelectric generating stations and contracts for solar and biomass energy, illustrate the cooperative’s long-standing commitment to a diverse portfolio that provides reliable and affordable electricity.
“Going back to the 1980s, AECC began investing in hydroelectric generation to provide more fuel diversity as a means to continue our mission of providing affordable and reliable wholesale power to Arkansas’ 17 local electric distribution cooperatives,” Highley said. “Over the past five years, AECC has secured long-term power purchase agreements for wind, solar and biomass capacity. We are continuing to evaluate new wholesale energy opportunities.”
The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas comprise: 17 electric distribution cooperatives; Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc. (AECI), a Little Rock-based cooperative that provides services to the distribution cooperatives; and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., a generation and transmission cooperative. The distribution cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 500,000 homes, farms and businesses in Arkansas and surrounding states. AECC currently sells or plans to sell the Renewable Energy Credits associated with the electricity produced by the following: Carl S. Whillock Hydroelectric Generating Station, Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas Hydropower Generating Station and from facilities associated with power purchase agreements with Origin Wind Energy, Drift Sand Wind Project, Flat Ridge 2 Wind Energy and SR Camden.