June 19, 2014 - First Wind today announced that it has finalized four 20-year power purchase agreements with Rocky Mountain Power. Rocky Mountain Power will buy the output of the planned 320MW "Four Brothers" solar development. Rocky Mountain Power's purchase is made in connection with its obligation under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA, and follows seven similar PURPA agreements for First Wind's 20MW "Seven Sisters" projects. These four solar projects will be located at sites in Beaver and Iron Counties.
"It is with great excitement that we announce this second set of major agreements for cost-competitive and locally produced solar energy in Utah," said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. "These additional long-term contracts with Rocky Mountain Power will enable us to move forward quickly with what will be the largest solar development in Utah, and our largest solar project to date. When combined with our nearby Milford Wind project and Seven Sisters Projects, we will have a capacity to generate nearly 650MW of clean electricity while serving as a source of major economic activity for Southern Utah through good construction jobs and significant local tax revenues."
The "Four Brothers" solar portfolio once complete, the combined generating capacity of the four projects will be more than 800,000MWh per year, or equivalent to the electricity use of about 90,000 Utah homes per year.
"First Wind has been a great partner to the State of Utah for many years now, and a great partner to Millard and Beaver Counties, where its Milford Wind facility provides significant economic value," said Cody Stewart, Energy Advisory to Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert. "Today it adds Iron County to the list. Perhaps more importantly, because this project's electricity will serve Utah directly, the project will add value for all Utahns for decades to come. We're glad to see that large scale solar has finally come to Utah."
With the start of major construction slated to begin in 2015 and a target completion date in 2016, the projects will create approximately 500 construction jobs. In addition, approximately $66 million in direct property and income taxes will be generated by the project over 20 years. These jobs and property taxes will spur Southern Utah's economic growth, in particular within the rural communities of Beaver and Iron Counties.
"We are excited to be part of Utah's clean energy revolution, which will transform this rural part of Southern Utah into a hub of renewable energy production," said Beaver County Commissioner Mark Whitney. "In addition to the clean energy, these solar projects will be a boon for our local economy through hundreds of construction jobs and new property and tax revenue that will help support our community, schools and other municipal needs. We have been fortunate to partner with First Wind for nearly a decade now as part of its wind development efforts and we are very pleased to expand our collaboration into solar energy."