AES begins operations at Arizona's biggest wind farm

AES Corp has begun commercial operations at the first phase of its 454MW Chevelon Butte wind farm in Arizona. 

The first wind farm to be built in northern Arizona in almost a decade, Chevelon Butte will also be the state’s largest.

The first phase consists of 57 turbines with a combined capacity of 238MW. The second 216MW phase is expected to begin commercial operations next year. It will supply power to local utility Arizona Power Service.

The facility is located in one of Arizona’s oldest working cattle ranches and has been designed to allow ranching to continue in the area.

“Achieving this milestone together with our landowner, local community partners, Coconino and Navajo County leaders, Arizona state agencies and our customer, APS, has ensured that this project will produce clean energy for decades to come, right alongside Arizona's ranching industry,” said AES chief operating officer Bernerd Da Santos.

To preserve the region’s dark sky characteristics, the turbines have been installed with radar-activated lights which turn on only when low-flying aircraft are in the vicinity.