The 61 wind turbines comprising Duke Energy Renewables’ 200 MW Frontier Windpower Project received an official welcome on May 31, 2017, at a dedication ceremony attended by over 100 people.
The facility located just east of Blackwell, Oklahoma, is expected to generate enough "emission-free" energy to power about 60,000 average-sized homes.
Each of the 203-foot-long turbine blades, sitting atop 287-foot-tall steel posts, will harness the power of winds which average 16 mph. Duke Energy chose the 11-mile-long Blackwell site because the wind is almost always blowing there, typically from the south or southwest. The massive turbines will start to spin in as little as 6 mph of wind.
Wind turbines produce no greenhouse gas emissions however the spinning blades are a threat to birds and bats.
Candace Wood, whose company Energy Renewal Partners, LLC, is working with Duke Energy on the Frontier wind farm, was quoted in the Springfield News-Leader, stating a lot of bird monitoring work was done in the Blackwell area before the project moved forward.
"We do a full year of avian studies here, especially looking for golden eagles and bald eagles," Wood said. "We also evaluated bird migration routes every week during the fall and winter. All of that information is compiled and evaluated before the final 'go' is given for construction to begin."
Wood said the studies indicated the Frontier wind farm would have a minor impact on bird species in the area.
State Rep. John Pfeiffer (R), keynote speaker at the event, stated, “Wind energy is progressive and beneficial to the economy of Oklahoma. I’m grateful to companies like Duke Energy Renewables that are unlocking the potential of this important resource to the benefit of our state.”
City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., is purchasing the power from the Frontier Windpower Project under a 22-year agreement.
"The partnership that we have developed with Frontier and Duke is one that has helped to secure the foundation for Springfield’s energy demands of the future," said Scott Miller, general manager, City Utilities of Springfield, "Changes in power generation sources have been very quick, and we're excited to be able to offer this level of renewable resource to our customers at the same time we retire some of our older generation sources."