The Salt River Project (SRP) has signed an agreement to purchase 100 percent of the electricity generated from what is expected to be the first wind energy farm constructed in Arizona. The Dry Lake Wind Project, being built by Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables, will be located about 18 miles northwest of Snowflake just east of Arizona State Route 377.

The 20-year contract calls for the delivery of 63 megawatts of energy to SRP by Dec. 31, 2009. SRP also has the first option to buy additional power from the Dry Lake project if Iberdrola chooses to expand the site within three years of the execution of this agreement.

Sixty-three megawatts is approximately enough energy to power more than 15,000 average residential homes. According to Iberdrola, Dry Lake’s Phase 1 will include approximately 30 wind turbines – depending on final turbine selection.

“The Dry Lake Wind Project represents a significant financial investment in Arizona and Navajo County,” Gov. Janet Napolitano said. “It will help increase our renewable energy supplies without using water or adding carbon to the atmosphere.”

The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) and the state legislature have both encouraged the development of a wind project in Arizona.

“I was proud to sponsor House Bill 2614, which will lower the valuation of renewable energy,” said Lucy Mason (R-Prescott). “This legislation helps lower the cost to consumers and makes projects like this one viable.”

“SRP has once again demonstrated its commitment to increasing the amount of energy generated from renewable resources in Arizona,” said ACC Commissioner Bill Mundell. “The Dry Lake Wind project is an important step forward in the diversification of Arizona’s electric generation. As the costs of fossil fuels continue to rise, electricity generated by wind, which has zero fuel costs and zero emissions, will lower or stabilize rates in the long run.”

“I am happy to see that SRP is using Arizona’s native winds,” said Commissioner Gary Pierce. “In this instance, SRP is fortunate that the wind resource is near existing transmission lines.”

Under SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio goals set by its publicly elected board of directors, SRP must secure sustainable and renewable resources to meet 15 percent of its retail energy needs by 2025.

“SRP has been committed to pursuing an Arizona-based wind energy project for some time now,” said Richard Hayslip, SRP’s associate general manager of Sustainability, Risk Management, Environmental Services & Land Management. “Adding wind energy to our resource mix will provide more clean energy for our customers while at the same time helping to increase the overall renewable energy supply in Arizona.”

SRP is the third-largest public power utility in the nation, serving more than 935,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area.