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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has signed a right-of-way permit and environmental documents approving Arizona's first wind energy development on public lands. Field manager Scott Cooke signed a finding of no significant impact and decision record for the Dry Lake Wind Project, which will be located in Navajo County. The area includes federal, state and private lands. BLM analyzed the impact to the entire project area and coordinated with numerous federal, state, tribal and local agencies prior to approving a right-of-way for the wind energy development.

PPM Energy, now Iberdrola Renewables, filed the application for the Dry Lake Wind Project in 2007. The developer completed a major requirement in the permitting process in July, announcing that it had signed an agreement with Salt River Project (SRP). Through that contract, SRP agreed to purchase all electricity generated in phase one of the Dry Lake Wind Project.

"We are very pleased to be proceeding with the Dry Lake Wind Project and greatly appreciate the timely processing of the project by the BLM and the Arizona State Land Department," says Rany Raviv, Iberdrola Renewables' vice president of business development. "Building the first wind power project in the state is an exciting development, and we hope it will serve as an example for additional, clean, home-grown energy supplies to be built in Arizona."

The first phase of the project will include approximately 30 wind turbines, access roads, an interconnection substation, an operations and maintenance facility, and collector lines to transmit the generated energy to the substation. Construction will likely begin in 2009 and last for nine to 12 months. Subsequent phases would include comparable facilities able to provide a total of up to 314 MW of additional wind energy. The total number of turbines would be 239, if fully developed.

SOURCE: Bureau of Land Management

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