Layout of the Keenan II wind farm.

Woodward’s wind power industry continues to grow.

This growth was highlighted by Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Keenan II Wind Farm southeast of Woodward.

Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) invited community leaders and other dignitaries to the site which over the next several months will have 66 wind turbines erected along an 8-mile stretch of the Sharon-Shattuck road.

According to Sean Finnerty, CPV senior vice president of renewable development, the turbines will be the “same models” as those used at the 44-turbine Keenan I wind farm a few miles to the north, which has become known as the OU Spirit Wind Farm.   They will be Siemens 2.3 megawatt turbines, meaning Keenan II will be capable of generating a total of 151.8 megawatts of electricity, Finnerty said, noting that energy has already been promised to OG&E through a power sale agreement, Finnerty said.

However, unlike the OU Spirit Wind Farm, which CPV built and then “sold outright” to OG&E, CPV will “maintain ownership” of the Keenan II Wind Farm, according to CPV CEO Doug Egan.

“This is the first wind farm that CPV will build, own and operate,” Egan said, noting this makes Keenan II not only “a milestone for our company; it will be a flagship for our company.”

He explained that Keenan II is actually the second phase of what will hopefully be a 3-phase project as his company is already developing plans for a third wind farm, which CPV also plans to maintain ownership of.

But as he addressed the crowd of 60 or so citizens who turned out for the groundbreaking, Egan explained that CPV’s “flagship” wouldn’t have been possible without community support.

“This type of project can be done just through a development company,” he said.  “This type of project has to be done through a partnership with a community and a development company.”

“The community has been very supportive,” Egan said, adding “Woodward County is a great county to do business with.”

“We’ve developed some fantastic relationships as we’ve worked with the community,” Finnerty said, noting that in developing the Keenan II project, CPV has worked with not only landowners, but also the Woodward County Commission and Woodward Industrial Foundation.

The county commissioners and representatives from the Industrial Foundation were both on hand at Wednesday’s groundbreaking, as were a number of landowners, including Marlene and Ronald Miller, who will have 7 turbines built on a 480 acre section of their land.

The couple are excited about the project and about the “retirement income” that the turbines will hopefully provide for them, to complement their wheat and cattle farming business.

Marlene Miller added, “I think it’s wonderful they can do something with the wind we have out here.”

But landowners aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from the project.  Sharon-Mutual School Superintendent Emma Sidders attended Tuesday’s groundbreaking to show her support for a project that she has been told could mean “an estimated $570,000 a year for the county in taxes.”

Sidders said some of that money would translate into “a steady income” for her school district, meaning her budget “won’t be so influenced by the economy of the rest of the state.”

But since “it’ll be a few years,” before her school will really begin to see any of that benefit, Sidders said she is excited to get the project under way.

She isn’t the only one.

“I’m looking forward to coming out here 9 months from now and seeing them all up and spinning,” Egan said of the new 66 wind turbines.

CPV officials said the project is expected to be completed around the end of the year, to cost around $325 million, and will incorporate around 250 workers at the peak of construction with 10 to 20 permanent employees who will remain to service and maintain the turbines.

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