The state of Arizona is slated for its first utility scale wind project as Arizona Public Service (APS) pursues its obligations under the state's largely voluntary environmental standard for renewable energy content of electricity supply. Western Wind Energy Corp of British Columbia, Canada, developed 400 acres of its own land northeast of Phoenix and will build, own and operate a 15 MW project, while APS will buy both the energy and the renewable energy credits from Western. The Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center is one of two projects Western Wind is developing in the state. A western Arizona site has a better wind resource, says the developer's Mike Boyd, but APS was unable to connect to the grid. Utilities in western Arizona and eastern California, however, could take delivery from that site. Boyd says Western has not decided on a turbine, but is looking at 1.5 MW or larger. Set in 1998 by the Arizona Corporation Commission, the environmental power standard calls for renewable energy to account for 1.1% of sales by 2012, but 60% of that must come from the state's considerable solar resource. All projects must be built within the state. With its 4.5 MW in solar installations and a new 3 MW biomass generator, the 15 MW output of the Eastern Arizona Wind Energy Center brings the utility's total qualified generation under its environmental standard to 22.5 MW. It needs 55 MW of renewables capacity to meet its obligations, but there are no penalties for not meeting the goal.
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