The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which maintains the US's nuclear weapons stockpile, awarded Siemens Government Technologies the contract to construct the 11.5MW Pantex wind farm — the largest developed by a federal department.
The installation will consist of five Siemens 2.3MW turbines located on 1,500 acres of government-owned property east of the Pantex plant in Amarillo, Texas.
The project, which is due to be completed by July 2014, is expected to generate an average of $2.8million in energy savings annually over its 18-year contract, covering more than half of the annual electricity needs for the Pantex plant.
Officials from NNSA, the US energy department, the Environmental Protection Agency and Siemens gathered at the site to break ground on the project.
Steve Erhart, NNSA production office manager, said: "This event commemorates the most unique and significant wind energy project ever undertaken by the federal government.
"We are very proud of our national security mission here at Pantex, and this federal partnership with Siemens will provide yet another dimension of dedicated and responsible service to our nation."
Siemens will construct the project under an energy savings performance contract, which allows federal agencies to accomplish energy savings projects without up-front capital costs and without special Congressional appropriations. It will be paid directly from the value of guaranteed energy savings generated by the turbines, averaging about $2.8 million annually.