SoCal Wind Power Headed To Silicon Valley

Portland, Ore.-based Iberdrola Renewables has found a buyer for 50-megawatts (MW) of power from the Manzana Wind Power Project, now under construction in California. It will go to the city of Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley Power, a repeat customer for Iberdrola.

The 20-year agreement will kick in as soon as the wind farm begins operating, which is expected to happen sometime late this year. The Manzana Wind Power Project, which is owned by Iberdrola, is in Kern County, California, in the wind-rich Tehachapi area near the town of Rosamond. The project includes 126 General Electric SLE 1.5-MW wind turbines, a 34.5-kilovolt (kV) collector system, an operations and maintenance building, a new collector substation and a 220-kV five-mile gen-tie line to interconnect the project to the new Whirlwind 220-kV substation that is being constructed by Southern California Edison.


image via Iberdrola Renewables

Iberdrola said the 50-MW purchase will feed enough clean, renewable electricity onto the grid to power 20,000 typical Santa Clara homes. The total project will produce up to 189 MW of energy, representing a reduction in green house gas emissions comparable to removing more than 21,500 cars off of California’s roads for one year. Wind power also could serve as a hedge against volatile fossil fuel prices and has proven to be a reliable, low-cost source of energy, the company said.

About three-quarters of the turbines at the project have been erected and construction of the operations and maintenance building as well as substation, collector system and other construction is well underway. Manzana is expected to create up to 290 construction jobs and 12 Iberdrola Renewables permanent operations and maintenance staff with approximately another eight to nine contractors during the warranty period.

And interesting note about the project is that 90 (70 percent) of the GE turbine “nacelles” used for the project—those are the Winnebago-sized components on top of the tower that house the generators, gearboxes, drive trains and brake assemblies—were manufactured less than an hour’s drive from the Manzana site at GE’s Tehachapi factory.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.

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