The AES Corporation (AES) announced the start of commercial operations for phase one of the Chevelon Butte wind farm. The project is located on the Chevelon Butte Ranch in Coconino and Navajo Counties, Arizona. AES' Chevelon Butte project is expected to produce a total of 454 MW of wind energy once both phases are fully operational next year. This first phase of the project will bring 238 MW of clean energy online with the remaining 216 MW expected to achieve commercial operations in 2024.
"This landmark project will deliver cost competitive renewable energy to Arizona, while operating on one of the oldest working cattle ranches in the state," said Bernerd Da Santos, AES' EVP, COO, and President, Renewables. "Once both phases are complete, Chevelon Butte will be Arizona's largest wind energy project and the first wind farm built in Northern Arizona in nearly a decade. Achieving this milestone together with our landowner, local community partners, Coconino and Navajo County leaders, Arizona state agencies and our customer, APS, has ensured that this project will produce clean energy for decades to come, right alongside Arizona's ranching industry."
"APS is Arizona's leader in clean energy and we're making progress to add more renewable energy resources, while maintaining a reliable and affordable electrical system," said Justin Joiner, APS Vice President of Resource Management. "The Chevelon Butte wind facility will add more wind energy to our balanced and diverse energy portfolio, helping us advance our 51% clean resource portfolio on the road to delivering 100% clean energy to our customers by 2050."
The wind farm will be compatible with existing land uses, enabling the landowner family and Arizona State Land Department to continue the more than a century-long tradition of raising livestock and stewardship of this property. All lease payments to the State Land Department will directly fund Arizona public schools, universities and other in-state beneficiaries. In close coordination with regulators and permitting authorities, AES also incorporated unique design features to avoid sensitive environmental resources and preserve Northern Arizona's internationally recognized dark sky characteristics by integrating a radar-activated lighting system that enables the federally required turbine lights to turn on only when low-flying aircraft are in the vicinity.
"The Chevelon Butte wind farm is an excellent example of AES' commitment to sustainable clean energy development," said Woody Rubin, Chief Development Officer, AES Clean Energy. "We have carefully designed this large-scale project to feature advanced technology and deliver positive economic and environmental outcomes to Arizona, and Coconino and Navajo counties."
The project will use the most advanced wind energy technology deployed to-date and will include a total of 105 wind turbines at full buildout. Once both phases are complete, AES' Chevelon Butte wind facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power 110,000 homes annually.