Look what the wind blew in — a tech giant.
EDP Renewables SA (EDPR), through its fully owned subsidiary EDP Renewables North America LLC and Microsoft Corp. have executed two 15-year power purchase agreements (PPA) totaling 125 megawatts (MW) that will bring the Timber Road IV Wind Farm to Paulding County.
“I’m ecstatic that it’s Microsoft,” said Paulding Commissioner Tony Zartman. “It’s wonderful to see such a large company with integrity invest in our community. I think it’s awesome that they are the buyers. I think it speaks volumes of the developer (EDPR) and the quality of work and level of integrity they show to continue to attract such heavy hitters in the tech industry.”
The Ohio Power Sitting Board approved the new wind farm on Feb. 21. Paulding Wind Farm IV plans to begin construction in the second quarter of 2019 and place the wind farm in service during the fourth quarter of 2019. The wind farm will be located near Payne in Benton, Blue Creek, Crane, Harrison and Paulding townships. It will have 31 total turbines.
The 125 MW Timber Road IV Wind Farm will produce enough clean electricity to annually power more than 36,000 average Ohio homes. The wind farm also will yield employment opportunities — approximately 200 full-time equivalent jobs during construction and seven full-time positions during operations. In addition, the new wind farm will generate approximately $1.1 million each year in annual property tax revenue for the local government, as well as land lease payments to area farmers and landowners.
“Bringing new wind projects online, particularly in states with relatively few projects but strong potential for growth, delivers both economic benefits and environmental progress in the near term and well into the future,” said Brian Janous, general manager of energy and sustainability at Microsoft. “We are constantly looking for opportunities where our corporate demand can not only be met, but can also accelerate the transition to renewable sources. EDPR has done great work in Ohio, and we’re pleased to partner with them to grow this market.”
These agreements with EDPR bring Microsoft’s directly purchased renewable energy portfolio to nearly 1.4 gigawatts. Timber Road IV Wind Farm is Microsoft’s fifth project in the larger PJM region.
“Microsoft exemplifies admirable energy supply and sustainability goals, and EDP Renewables is proud to partner with it to accelerate its efforts to power its data centers with renewable energy sources,” said Miguel Prado, EDPR North America chief executive officer. “Agreements like these are a prime example of EDPR’s ability to work with corporate customers to help them achieve their renewable energy targets and reduce carbon emissions.”
The Timber Road IV Wind Farm will be EDPR’s fourth operational wind farm in Ohio and its third operational wind farm in Paulding County. The four wind farms total 392 MW, contributing to more than 40 percent of the state’s installed wind capacity. EDPR’s three operational Ohio wind farms power 76,000 average Ohio homes and represent an estimated capital investment of $503 million. The operational wind farms have paid more than $6 million to local governments to date and $16.1 million to landowners through 2017. It is estimated that $93 million also has been spent in local Ohio communities within 50 miles of the wind farms.
“We applaud this partnership between EDP Renewables and Microsoft that will allow Microsoft to power its operations on the larger PJM grid with clean, homegrown wind energy from Paulding County,” said Dana Saucier, JobsOhio’s vice president and head of economic development. “Every day we see more and more companies choosing competitively priced renewable energy. Ohio has an excellent opportunity to provide it through arrangements like this that also serve to supplement local farm income, generate stable tax revenues for schools and local government, and create jobs and opportunity in some of Ohio’s most rural communities.”
Several large named companies have purchased renewable energy produced in Paulding County in recent years. In 2015, Amazon Web Services Inc. contracted with EDP Renewables for a wind farm between Antwerp and Payne. General Motors has agreed to purchase all the electricity from the Northwest Ohio Wind project as well.