orionlogoA massive northwest Arizona wind farm project conceived more than a decade ago has changed hands. BP Wind has sold its Mohave County project and another undeveloped windfarm in an undisclosed location to Oakland, California-based Orion Energy.
   Terms of the deal that closed in March are confidential.
BP Wind Energy North America, Inc. received a right-of-way application from the Bureau of Land Management in 2002 before it tested wind conditions at the proposed project site over a four year period. In June, 2012 Interior Secretary Sally Jewell formally approved use of nearly 38,000 acres of public land for the wind farm about 40 miles northwest of Kingman.
   BP envisioned an investment of up to $1-billion to build as many as 243 giant wind turbines to generate up to 500 megawatts of electricity. BP was not able to consummate a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a utility before it sold the asset to Orion.
   Orion Vice President Reid Buckley said principals were attracted to the purchase given their long history of wind energy industry involvement, lack of substantial wind energy development in Arizona and state requirements that utilities increase their renewable energy portfolios. He said securing a PPA will be key in moving the project forward.
   “It’s still in development, so there’s still lots of work to do before it becomes a reality,” Buckley said. “Clearly we’re not starting construction tomorrow. Development just means there are lots of different pieces that still have to come together before the project becomes a reality.”
   Buckley said Orion is more involved with development and sale of wind generation infrastructure than it is in actual operations.

Wind   “Orion Energy Group LLC (OEG) develops renewable power projects that produce electricity in a manner that is environmentally and economically sound,” the company website stated. “OEG applies its pioneering experience to all aspects of project development, from project inception through completion of construction and operations.”

Dennis Godfrey, a public information officer with the Bureau of Land Management, said the agency has had communications with company officials since the Orion acquisition was completed. Godfrey said Orion has until the end of May to act on the BLM right-of-way offer that he said involves $60,000 to essentially rent the public lands proposed for wind farm development.