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Black Rock Wind Farm up and running

Black Rock Wind Farm, which stretches from Mineral County to Grant County, is now in full operation, officials said this week.
Black Rock Wind Farm, which stretches from Mineral County to Grant County, is now in full operation, officials said this week.

BLACK ROCK – Mineral County’s newest wind farm is now in operation and has begun setting up a charitable foundation to give back to the area just like its sister wind farm at Pinnacle.

Clearway Energy Group announced Thursday that it reached commercial operations on Black Rock, a 115 MW wind farm that spans West Virginia’s Grant and Mineral counties and will increase the state’s wind energy generation by 15 percent.

Black Rock is contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with customers Toyota Motor North America and AEP Energy Partners, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Electric Power, both major employers in West Virginia.

“We’re proud that Clearway is leading the growth of renewable energy in West Virginia and supporting local jobs and investments in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway.

“Black Rock is our third wind farm to expand the Mountain State’s clean energy workforce and drive significant local spending and taxes.

“We thank Toyota, AEP Energy Partners, and all our partners for bringing Black Rock to life. We also extend our gratitude to Gov. Jim Justice and state elected officials who worked hand in hand to ensure this wind farm will generate long-term benefits for local communities and beyond.”

Black Rock created more than 200 union jobs during construction and nearly a dozen permanent operations jobs, including a partnership with Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College to hire program graduates and workers displaced from the coal industry.

Together with the Mount Storm and Pinnacle Wind farms, the completion of Black Rock makes Clearway one of the leading taxpayers in Grant and Mineral counties, which alone contributes $12 million in property taxes and $9 million in Business & Occupation taxes during 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. The charitable fund models the successful community-led effort sponsored by the nearby Pinnacle Wind Farm and will announce its first round of grants this spring.

“We value partners like Clearway that share our vision for improving lives within communities, including those where our team members work and live, like West Virginia,” said Chris Reynolds, chief administrative officer with Toyota Motor North America. “Toyota is making significant investments in and aggressively pursuing environmental technologies to achieve our goal of carbon neutrality at our manufacturing facilities by 2035.”

Black Rock’s 23 state-of-the-art wind turbines will generate enough electricity to power 55,000 West Virginia homes each year. Clearway is the largest operator of renewable energy in the state and invested more than $460 million in West Virginia last year developing, building, and repowering wind projects. The company’s 550 MW portfolio in the state includes another 120 MW wind farm under development in the same region.

“AEP Energy Partners is proud to provide customers with integrated, carbon-free energy that fulfills their sustainability goals, delivers long-term price stability and benefits the environment. Our partnership with Clearway Energy Group demonstrates our commitment to the development of new renewable resources that both empower local communities and support a cleaner, brighter energy future,” said Greg Hall, executive vice president, Energy Supply, AEP.

This article originally appeared on Mineral Daily News-Tribune: Black Rock Wind Farm up and running