WFEC, NextEra Energy Resources, announce phase one completion of the largest combined wind, solar & energy storage facilities in U.S.
Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC), together with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, announced the completion of the first phase of the largest project in the country to combine wind energy, solar energy, and battery storage in the same location. Skeleton Creek Wind began generating 250 megawatts (MW) of wind energy for customers on December 16, 2020.
“Oklahoma is a leader in renewable energy, and at Western Farmers, we are excited to add an additional 250 MW of clean, reliable, and environmentally friendly wind energy from Skeleton Creek,” said Gary Roulet, CEO for WFEC. “This is another milestone in our evolution toward increasing zero-carbon energy. And, when we add the solar energy and battery storage components of this project, we’ll be able to make more affordable, renewable energy available to customers for more hours of the day—even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.”
The Skeleton Creek Project—combined of wind, solar, and energy storage—is the first of its kind announced in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the electric grid region that includes Oklahoma and 13 other states in the central U.S. covering 546,000 square miles. When it comes online, it is also expected to be the largest co-located wind, solar, and energy storage project in the U.S.
“We are pleased to partner with WFEC to help bring low-cost, renewable energy to their customers and look forward to the next phase of this project—adding solar and energy storage,” said John Ketchum, president and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources, the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and the sun. “The Skeleton Creek project will provide millions of dollars in additional revenue for landowners and local communities while generating clean, homegrown energy for years to come.”
The 250 MW of new wind energy generated by Skeleton Creek, and the solar and energy storage components once commercial, will help further diversify WFEC’s generation portfolio. After completion of the solar and energy storage phase of the project, WFEC’s planned generation portfolio will consist of 623 MW of solar generation, 957 MW of wind generation, and 268 MW of hydroelectric generation.
The wind, solar, and battery storage project will be located in Garfield, Alfalfa, and Major counties in Oklahoma. In addition to the clean energy it generates, the project is expected to stimulate the local economy through the creation of hundreds of construction jobs, and through millions of dollars in lease payments to landowners and tax payments to the local communities.
The wind project created approximately 200 jobs during the construction phase and will add an additional 150 during the construction of the solar and energy storage site. The entire project will provide approximately $105 million in payments to the county governments over its projected 30-year operational life, and approximately $90 million in payments to local landowners.
The project is expected to come online in the following phases:
- Skeleton Creek Wind: 250 MW of wind energy, operational Dec. 2020
- Skeleton Creek Solar: 250 MW of solar energy, expected to begin operations by the end of 2023
- Skeleton Creek Storage: 200 MW, 4-hour battery energy storage project, expected to begin operations by the end of 2023