Black Rock Wind will diversify region’s energy economy; Contracted under PPAs with AEP Energy and Toyota
SAN FRANCISCO, CA and CHARLESTON, WV – Clearway Energy Group (“Clearway”) and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice today announced that construction has commenced on Black Rock, a 115 MW wind farm that spans Grant and Mineral counties.
West Virginia Governor Justice, Clearway CEO Craig Cornelius, and state officials.
“Black Rock represents a significant investment in West Virginia’s energy economy,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway. “We are excited to support good-paying jobs while making substantial investments in local businesses and the community and have great belief in what the future holds here. In building Black Rock, and making further investments in nearby Pinnacle wind farm, we’re making a strong commitment to West Virginia. We see a great future for renewable energy in the Mountain State’s economy, and we’re looking forward to continuing to invest to enable that growth in the years to come.”
“This investment, this innovation, this diversification for West Virginia is amazing,” Gov. Justice said. “I want to thank Clearway for recognizing the potential in West Virginia and creating this wonderful investment in our people and our state. We are here to help you in every possible way.”
Clearway also closed $197 million in construction debt financing, for which Mizuho Bank, Ltd. acted as the coordinating lead arranger and with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), MUFG Bank, Ltd., Santander, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) each acting as mandated lead arrangers. Black Rock is contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with Toyota and AEP Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Electric Power. Both companies are major employers in West Virginia.
“AEP Energy is focused on providing customers with integrated, carbon-free energy supplies that deliver long-term price stability and environmental benefits. Agreements like the one with Clearway Energy Group affirm our vision and demonstrate the energy solutions we can put in place to support the development of new energy resources to boost local economies and help our customers power their homes and businesses with clean, reliable energy,” said Greg Hall, president, AEP Energy.
“Partnering with Clearway to purchase wind energy in West Virginia aligns with our commitment to renewable energy and economic growth in a region where we’ve operated for over 20 years,” said Kevin Butt, senior director of environmental sustainability for Toyota Motor North America. “Black Rock directly contributes to the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 and will help us eliminate carbon emissions from our manufacturing operations.”
The project will have a total of 23 turbines supplied by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy and construction is being led by Reed & Reed and Bechtel Corporation.
During construction, Black Rock will create at least 200 jobs and generate millions of dollars of spending in the local community. Once Black Rock is operational, Clearway will be among the leading taxpayers in Grant and Mineral counties with Black Rock paying $5.7 million in property taxes to the counties and $9 million in Business & Occupation taxes to the state over the life of the project. Clearway has also established the Black Rock Community Benefit Fund, which will donate $50,000 to local nonprofits every year throughout the project’s lifespan.
“West Virginia continues to support the diversification of our state’s economy and we are here to support this wonderful project,” said West Virginia Secretary of Commerce Ed Gaunch. “We are delighted to see Clearway deepen its roots in the Mountain State.”
Black Rock is expected to reach commercial operations in late 2021. Once complete, Black Rock will increase West Virginia’s wind power by 15 percent. In December, Clearway announced a joint equity transaction for a 1.6 GW portfolio that includes Black Rock.