OK: Construction to Start on Wind Farm in Major County

3 Sep, 2020

Developers are nearing the construction stage of Maverick Wind Energy Center, a wind farm to be built in eastern Major County, reports the Enid News & Eagle newspaper.
Emily Brumit, Maverick Wind Energy Center developer, said Invenergy LLC expects to start construction of the 288-megawatt farm in late fall 2020, with a target operational date in December 2021.
Maverick is planned to be built on 55,000 acres of land, beginning south of U.S. 412 between Ringwood and Lahoma, and running south to the Kingfisher County line. Transmission line construction will run into both Kingfisher and Garfield counties.
Brumit said, when complete, the wind farm will represent a $402 million investment in Oklahoma's growing renewable energy sector.
Construction of the project's 103 turbines, pads and roads will require about 150 workers, and nine full-time operations and maintenance workers after the project is complete.
More than 200 landowners have signed lease agreements for the turbines and transmission lines, Brumit said, and Invenergy is finishing required environmental surveys and engineering plans.
Another hurdle is clearance from Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force, to ensure the wind farms do not encroach on military airspace and training routes — a process which delayed construction of NextEra Energy's Skeleton Creek project for about a year.
Brumit said Invenergy submitted its plans to the FAA for approval in April, and the company has since been working closely with the command team at Vance Air Force Base.
"We have been working very closely with Vance," Brumit said, "and we are very hopeful for a positive outcome."
Mike Cooper, city of Enid military liaison and chairman of Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission, said the state's wind farm clearing house process has greatly improved collaboration between the military and wind energy industry since the delay in Skeleton Creek's construction.
The Oklahoma Legislature in 2019 passed legislation requiring that a Determination of No Hazard and mitigation plan for any adverse impacts to military airspace must be submitted to Oklahoma Corporation Commission and Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission before wind turbine construction starts.
"All of the developers are now following the process," Cooper said, "and those early and frequent discussions help everybody involved come to the right answer.
"Ultimately, what we want to see is for wind power and renewable energy to be developed in Oklahoma," Cooper said, "while also protecting our most valuable military strategic asset, which is our airspace."
Once complete, Maverick will produce enough energy to power about 85,000 homes annually, Brumit said.
Maverick is part of a larger, three-part construction plan, dubbed the North Central Energy Facility, that includes the 199-megawatt Sundance wind farm, planned to start construction this fall in Woods, Major and Alfalfa counties, and the 999-megawatt Traverse wind farm, set to build in 2021 in Custer, Blaine and Kingfisher counties.
Invenergy purchased Maverick from Tradewind Energy, now Enel Greenpower, in March 2019. While Invenergy is developing Maverick, Sundance and Traverse, Brumit said American Electric Power (AEP) has committed to buying all three wind farms, with a 10-year contract for Invenergy to manage the facilities.
AEP, in turn, has plans to sell the energy to Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, for Oklahoma customers, and to Southwestern Electric Power Co., for customers in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.