By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
HUNTER, Okla. —
Officials with Rome-based Enel Green Power were in rural northwest Oklahoma Wednesday to dedicate one of the state’s largest wind farms.
Nestled on the flat plain straddling the small town of Hunter in Grant and Garfield counties, the 140-turbine Chisholm View Wind Project provides enough electricity to power about 80,000 homes and replace about 520,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to corporate literature.
The power is collected in the massive turbines and is purchased by Alabama Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company.
Enel CEO Francesco Starace told the gathering of local dignitaries and landowners he attends wind farm dedications around the world.
“I cannot make it to all dedications because they are simply too far away sometimes. But I’m very happy that I made it here,” he said.
The last time he was in northwest Oklahoma was a year ago, when construction on the farm had just begun.
“I was so impressed when I came back here today to see these turbines running,” Starace said. “A lot of bright people studied this site extremely well and managed to properly dimension this installation.”
Chisholm View has been in operation since December. Enel’s North American CEO, Francesco Venturini, applauded the collaboration between his company, its partners and local officials for their “old-fashioned hard work, culminating in the wind-power generating plant that we now see around us.”
“Oklahoma is one of Enel Green Power’s favorite states to do business in,” he told the crowd.
Starace told a story of his last dedication ceremony, one in Chile that was less than half the size of Chisholm View. The president of the country wanted to attend, he said, because the wind farm there was the biggest in all of Chile.
“You have to appreciate, being Americans, the dimension of your country. This farm is not the largest farm you have in the U.S.,” he said, adding that it is the largest farm in Enel’s portfolio.
“We love the space and we think the way the business can be done in the U.S. is an example. We would like to see this everywhere in the world.”
Starace continued, saying it is not simple to build a wind farm in just a year.
“A plant like this — only here. This is why we will keep investing in Oklahoma and the U.S.,” he said.
State Sen. Patrick Anderson, R-Enid, commended Enel and TradeWind Energy, the firm that worked on the early stages of setting up the location.
Anderson said there now are 2,000 wind energy jobs in Oklahoma.
“Those are jobs that didn’t exist five years ago. This is a tremendous economic boost to our state,” he said.