Utility and power-generation company AES has initiated commercial operations for the first phase of the Chevelon Butte wind farm, located on the Chevelon Butte Ranch in Coconino and Navajo counties, Ariz. AES’ Chevelon Butte project is expected to produce a total of 454 MW of wind energy once both phases are fully operational next year.
The first phase of the project totals 238 MW, and the remaining 216 MW are expected to come online next year.
“Once both phases are complete, Chevelon Butte will be Arizona’s largest wind energy project and the first wind farm built in northern Arizona in nearly a decade,” says AES’ Bernerd Da Santos.
Da Santos notes that Chevelon Butte Ranch is one of the oldest working cattle ranches in the state. The wind farm will be compatible with existing land uses, enabling the landowner family and Arizona State Land Department to continue the more than a century-long tradition of raising livestock.
In close coordination with regulators and permitting authorities, AES also incorporated unique design features to avoid sensitive environmental resources and preserve northern Arizona’s dark skies by integrating a radar-activated lighting system that enables the turbine lights to turn on only when low-flying aircraft are in the vicinity.
Once complete, the project will include a total of 105 Vestas wind turbines.