Utah's largest wind farm has expanded into its second phase, increasing generating capacity by 102 megawatts for users in Southern California.
The combined output of the wind farm, owned by Boston-based First Wind, is now 306 megawatts, enough to provide power to 64,000 houses.
"We are proud to announce the completion of this high-quality wind project," said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. "This project is now delivering clean, renewable power for use by thousands of homes and businesses. Putting the pieces together on Milford IIhas been a remarkable experience."
Construction of the second phase began in the summer of 2010 and included erecting 68 wind towers by contractor RMT. The first phase, completed in 2009, involved completion of 204 turbine towers that stand north of Milford in Beaver County like a forest of giant pinwheels.
First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne said Tuesday the company hopes to eventually generate 1,000 megawatts of capacity in what could include five phases.
"We're currently considering developing a 200 megawatt phase, Milford III," said Lamontagne. "Any new development, as you can imagine, depends on demand for the power."
He said so far the company has invested more than $600 million in the first two phases.
At its peak, construction of the latest phase included 200 workers. Twenty full-time staffers are needed to operate and maintain the project.
The power generated at the wind farm travels more than 80 miles to a substation near Delta for distribution to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and Glendale Water and Power.
"The Milford II Wind Power Project is an example of LADWP working smarter while boosting the amount of renewable energy provided to customers and reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said the utilities' general manager, Ronald O. Nichols, in a news release. "With the completion of this project we ensure the delivery of 102 megawatts of wind power at a set price for the next 20 years."
Communities in Millard and Beaver counties have benefited in many ways from the wind project, said Millard County Commissioner Daron Smith.
"Through direct spending or local subcontractors, this development has been an economic benefit for our towns, while also helping our environment," said Smith.
"Southern Utah has tremendous potential for generating renewable power and these types of projects send the right message to our young people," Smith said.