By Nick Worth
Plans are moving forward on the proposed wind farm to be located north of Joseph City, according to Dale Osborn, president and CEO of Disgen Holdings, LLC, a company based in Lakewood, Colo.
“We just got the large generation interconnection agreement draft from Arizona Public Service,” said Os-born.
He explained the agreement would allow the wind farm to interconnect with Cholla Power Plant in Joseph City, which would provide a substation for the transfer of the wind farm’s power to its customers.
Osborn said this did not necessarily mean APS would be a purchaser of the wind farm’s power.
“They haven’t indicated they wanted to purchase any of the power yet,” said Osborn. He said he has been approaching several potential customers about power purchase agreements for the Joseph City site.
According to a Dec. 16, 2011, article in The Tribune-News, the proposed wind farm would stretch from about six miles northeast of Joseph City to the southern border of the Navajo Nation, between Porter Road and State Route 77.
In a presentation to the Navajo County Board of Supervisors at that time, Osborn said Disgen would be building as many as 189 generating towers and related facilities, and the farm would be expected to generate 390-megawatts of renewable electrical energy.
The project would encompass approximately 33,709 acres of privately owned and state-owned property that is currently used primarily for grazing, with no existing residences or other structures.
Osborn told the board last December the project would cost approximately $600 million to $650 million, and that Navajo County would benefit through:
* An annual payment of approximately $1.75 million in property taxes.
* An estimated $1.5 million per year in funds earned from leasing state lands to go directly in support of Arizona schools.
* An estimated $12 million to $15 million spent in the community for concrete hauling and other supplies.
* An estimated 300 to 500 new jobs during the construction phase.
* An estimated $15 million in economic activity would be brought into the county each year over the next 30 years with no county services required.
* An estimated 20 to 30 permanent jobs would be created by the project.
* Participating landowners would receive payment for use of their land.
At the board meeting last December, Osborn told the board he wanted to move forward with construction and be finished by the end of 2012.
In a telephone interview Tuesday, though, Osborn said he hoped to be able to start construction in 2013.
Osborn said he is currently in talks with three institutional investment firms about financing the construc-tion of the farm. He was also in Phoenix Wednesday and Thursday of this week to talk with APS officials about finalizing the interconnection agreement.
By Nick Worth