AES begins commercial operations in 238 MW first phase of Chevelon Butte Wind Farm

Published on June 06, 2023 by Chris Galford

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In Arizona, the AES Corporation last week announced the beginning of commercial operations at its new Chevelon Butte facility, bringing 238 MW of renewable energy as part of the wind farm’s first phase.

Another 216 MW MW should follow next year, once the 454 MW facility at large concludes its next phase. Meant to be compatible with existing land uses, the wind farm will allow landowners to continue raising livestock on the property while energy operations proceed, and all affiliated lease payments to the Arizona State Land Department will fund Arizona public schools, universities and other beneficiaries.

“This landmark project will deliver cost competitive renewable energy to Arizona, while operating on one of the oldest working cattle ranches in the state,” Bernerd Da Santos, AES’ EVP, COO, and president of renewables, said. “Once both phases are complete, Chevelon Butte will be Arizona’s largest wind energy project and the first wind farm built in Northern Arizona in nearly a decade. 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.”

Once finished, Chevelon Butte will include 105 wind turbines capable of powering the equivalent of 110,000 homes annually. Uniquely, it also seeks to preserve dark sky characteristics in the region through integration of a radar-activated lighting system. That system allows turbine light to remain off most of the time, activating only when they detect low-flying aircraft in the vicinity.

“APS is Arizona’s leader in clean energy and we’re making progress to add more renewable energy resources, while maintaining a reliable and affordable electrical system,” Justin Joiner, APS vice president of resource management, said. “The Chevelon Butte wind facility will add more wind energy to our balanced and diverse energy portfolio, helping us advance our 51 percent clean resource portfolio on the road to delivering 100 percent clean energy to our customers by 2050.”