A wind farm spanning several West Virginia counties that will allow the state to generate more renewable energy is now operating.
California business Clearway Energy Group announced in a press release on Thursday its Black Rock wind farm in Grant and Mineral counties has reached commercial operations.
Clearway said in the release, that the 115 MW wind farm will increase the state’s wind energy generation by 15 percent. Black Rock is contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with two major employers in West Virginia, Toyota Motor North America and AEP Energy Partners.
“We’re proud that Clearway is leading the growth of renewable energy in West Virginia and supporting local jobs and investments in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway. “Black Rock is our third wind farm to expand the Mountain State’s clean energy workforce and drive significant local spending and taxes. We thank Toyota, AEP Energy Partners, and all our partners for bringing Black Rock to life. We also extend our gratitude to Governor Jim Justice and state elected officials who worked hand in hand to ensure this wind farm will generate long-term benefits for local communities and beyond.”
Clearway released the following video to announce the beginning of operations for Black Rock:
Governor Justice first announced the breaking of ground for Black Rock in January 2021.
Black Rock created more than 200 union jobs during construction and nearly a dozen permanent operations jobs, according to Clearway. Through a partnership with Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College, the company hired program graduates and workers displaced from the coal industry.
According to Clearway, the completion of Black Rock also makes it one of the leading taxpayers in Grant and Mineral counties, contributing $12 million in property taxes and $9 million in Business & Occupation taxes during the life of the project. The Black Rock Community Benefit Fund will donate $50,000 to local nonprofits every year and will announce its first round of grants this spring.
“We value partners like Clearway that share our vision for improving lives within communities, including those where our team members work and live, like West Virginia,” said Chris Reynolds, Chief Administrative Officer, Toyota Motor North America. “Toyota is making significant investments in and aggressively pursuing environmental technologies to achieve our goal of carbon neutrality at our manufacturing facilities by 2035.”
“AEP Energy Partners is proud to provide customers with integrated, carbon-free energy that fulfills their sustainability goals, delivers long-term price stability and benefits the environment. Our partnership with Clearway Energy Group demonstrates our commitment to the development of new renewable resources that both empower local communities and support a cleaner, brighter energy future,” said Greg Hall, executive vice president, Energy Supply, AEP.
Black Rock’s 23 wind turbines will generate enough electricity to power 55,000 West Virginia homes each year. Clearway is developing another 120 MW wind farm in the same region, according to the release.