Canada’s TransAlta Renewables has revealed that Microsoft is its customer pursuant to a 15-year power purchase arrangement signed earlier this year for the 90-MW Big Level wind facility now under construction in Hector Township, Pennsylvania.
“This project advances our North American growth and investment strategy,” said TransAlta Renewables President, John Kousinioris. “Microsoft is a leader in procurement of renewable energy and a catalyst for change in how corporate customers can control their energy procurement.”
The Big Level wind facility is the third power purchase arrangement Microsoft has signed in the PJM Interconnection. PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
With this Big Level project, Microsoft’s total renewable energy portfolio will rise to more than 1.2 GW, covering six states and three continents.
“We are thrilled that TransAlta Renewables and Microsoft have decided to invest in Pennsylvania,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary, Dennis Davin. “This project will further Pennsylvania’s role as a leader in renewable energy, while supporting the development of a cleaner and more diverse energy economy.”
The Big Level wind facility is expected to bring direct investment, jobs, landowner lease payments, tax benefits, and clean energy to Hector Township, Pennsylvania. At the peak of construction, there will be approximately 100 full-time equivalent jobs, and over the life of the project, the communities should receive more than $8 million in tax benefits and community payments.
TransAlta Renewables has consulted extensively with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize the impact the Big Level wind facility could have on birds and bats. Extensive on-site studies were performed with agency input, and wildlife impacts are expected to be minimal. The project is fully permitted through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Potter County Conservation District.
Commercial operation for the Big Level wind facility is expected to begin in the second half of 2019. All regulatory approvals have been completed.