First wind

The first phase of the huge Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, Indiana became fully operational this week.


The first phase of the huge Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Benton County, Indiana, became fully operational this week.


The first 400MW generated by the farm, claimed to be the largest in the midwestern US states, will generate enough electricity to power about 120,000 homes.


BP Wind Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of BP and Dominion, who partnered to develop the project, could expand the facility to provide 750MW in the future.


Construction of phase one of the wind farm 90 miles northwest of Indianapolis began in early 2008.


Built by RMT, phase one uses 182 Vestas 1.65MW turbines with a hub height of 262ft and a rotor diameter of 269ft, and 40 Clipper 2.5MW turbines with a hub height of approximately 262ft and a rotor diameter of 314ft.


A total of 850 workers were employed at the peak of construction. Now, 36 staff are employed to monitor and maintain the facility, with BP Wind Energy as operator.


The power from phase one of the project has been sold under three long-term contracts, one contract with Dominion Energy Marketing for 200MW and two contracts each for 100MW with Indiana Michigan Power and Appalachian Power, both subsidiaries of American Electric Power.


In addition to development of phase one of the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm, BP and Dominion announced in April 2008 that they had entered into an agreement to jointly own, operate and develop wind energy projects in Virginia.


In January this year, the companies announced they were evaluating two wind energy projects in Tazewell and Wise counties in Southwest Virginia. 


Both projects are in an early stage of development and will be subject to all applicable local, state and federal permits and approvals.