Construction begins on Tehachapi wind project

Construction has started on a 120-megawatt wind turbine project near Tehachapi.

Developer Western Wind Energy Corp. selected Madison, Wis.-based RMT Inc. to build its Windstar project near Tehachapi, Calif., and its 10 megawatt Kingman project in Mohave County, Ariz.

"Once completed, these two facilities will have the capacity to power approximately 35,000 homes annually," said David Kutcher, RMT Chief Commercial Officer, in a statement.

RMT is responsible for engineering, procurement and construction of Gamesa 2.0-MW wind turbines at both sites, officials said.

The Kingman facility is expected to begin commercial operation by summer, while the Tehachapi operation is scheduled to come online late this year.

Wind energy projects around Tehachapi have been busy lately.

For instance, the Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage Project was recommended by the California Energy Commission just before the new year for $1 million in Public Interest Energy Research Program funds. The amount is a fraction of about $25 million applied for by Southern California Edison but likely enough to get the project rolling. Its overall cost is a about $55 million, according to

The application to the National Energy Technology Laboratory says the project's "is to evaluate the performance of utility scale lithium-ion battery technology."

And Terra-Gen Power LLC this summer secured $1.2 billion in financing to build four wind-powered electrical generation projects near Tehachapi.

Officials estimated it will generate about 1,500 jobs.

The combined generating capacity is 570 megawatts, or enough electricity to supply 570,000 homes. The project would bolster the 3,000 megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center, which was started in the 1980s.

Terra-Gen officials said that combined with another project which received financing in March, this would put the New York-based company "well on its way to completing what is anticipated to be the largest wind energy farm in the nation."

Photo: RMT wind turbines in New Mexico.