Construction Begins on New Wind Energy Resource Project North of Flagstaff

By on March 22, 2023 0 143Views

Construction begins this week on the newest wind energy resource that will support SRP’s power grid and customers in the Valley. The Babbitt Ranch Energy Center, a 161-megawatt (MW) wind project, is now under construction on Babbitt Ranches property in Coconino County, north of Flagstaff. This facility is scheduled to begin delivering clean energy to SRP customers by early 2024.

“SRP is proud of the diversity of our resource mix, especially among our growing portfolio of zero-carbon, clean energy resources,” said Grant Smedley, Director of Resource Planning at SRP. “Utility-scale wind power at Babbitt Ranch Energy Center will complement solar resources by providing energy during evening and nighttime hours when solar energy is not available.”

The project will produce enough energy to power nearly 40,000 average-size homes. The project proposed by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun and a world leader in battery storage, proved to be viable and operational in the timeframe needed to help meet SRP’s growing customer demand by 2024.

“This wind energy project will generate low-cost, homegrown energy and provide millions of dollars in additional tax revenue to Coconino County over the life of the project,” said JD Rulien, director of development at NextEra Energy Resources. “We are pleased to work with SRP, Babbitt Ranches and the Arizona State Land Department to break ground on Arizona’s newest wind energy center.”

Construction will provide a significant economic boost to Coconino County and the state, creating up to 250 construction jobs, and stimulating the purchase of regional goods and services from local vendors.

The project will feature 50 wind turbines, converting energy from the wind into electricity. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources will build, own and operate the project.

Over the life of the Babbitt Ranch Energy Center, it is expected to generate approximately $9.5 million in additional tax revenue to the Coconino County area.

Babbitt Ranches is one of the West’s longest running land companies, and has been exploring renewable energy viability in Northern Arizona since 2005, measuring wind speeds and conducting solar power evaluations.

“In our efforts to support the delivery of renewable energy, we acknowledge the terrific and wonderful participation of so many businesses and government entities involved in the process to make this happen,” said Babbitt Ranches President and General Manager Billy Cordasco. “We appreciate the valuable input from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona State Land Department, Coconino County and everyone involved in the Western CO Bar Legacy Conservation Community for the benefit of future generations.”

SRP was the first utility in Arizona to add wind power to its energy resource mix, and still receives all energy output from the 127-MW Dry Lake Wind Power Project, which was the first large-scale wind power facility built in the state.

In addition to receiving clean energy from wind, SRP will install 2,025 MW of solar by 2025, which is enough to power more than 450,000 average-size homes. SRP also has among the largest utility-scale battery investments in the Western U.S. with over 1,100 MW of battery storage projects that will be online by 2024. SRP will continue to develop and deploy evolving renewable and storage technologies safely and cost-effectively as part of the utility’s commitment to reducing carbon intensity (from 2005 levels) by more than 65 percent by 2035 and 90 percent by 2050