Wind energy project in Washington begins commercial operations

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, and Avista (NYSE: AVA) announced the completion of construction of the 105 MW Palouse Wind project in eastern Washington and that commercial operations have begun.

The project features 58 Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines and was built by Madison, Wisc.-based RMT over a 14-month period. During construction, the Palouse Wind project pumped more than $25 million of direct spending into the regional economy and created hundreds of construction-related jobs and drove significant revenue for local businesses. Now in full commercial operations, the Palouse Wind project will continue to contribute to the local economy and is now the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County.

Avista Corp. is purchasing the energy produced by the Palouse Wind project under a 30-year power purchase agreement and will take delivery of the power through a direct interconnect to the Avista 230 kV Benewah-to-Shawnee transmission line.

In a separate agreement, First Wind and Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI) completed the $50 million tax equity financing deal last week.  CIRI is an Alaska Native corporation.

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