Secretary Salazar Keynotes Arizona's First Commercial Scale Wind Energy Development Public-Private Partnership Brings Dry Lake Project Online

Public-Private Partnership Brings Dry Lake Project Online

Last edited 09/29/2021

PHOENIX, Arizona – Calling it a reflection of growing energy concerns across the nation, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today lauded the public-private partnership that developed the Dry Lake Wind Power Project that now feeds clean, renewable energy to homes and businesses in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

“The successful completion of this vital project reflects the concerns we all share – nationally, regionally and locally – about the critical energy challenges facing communities across the United States,” Salazar said at the dedication ceremony near Heber, Arizona. “The partnership that built Arizona's first commercial-scale wind energy project demonstrates a common desire to reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil by using our domestic renewable resources to meet a larger share of our energy needs. This strategy will also help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change, while creating ‘green jobs' around the nation.”

The Dry Lake Wind Power Project is located on a combination of the public lands managed by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Trust Lands, and private lands on the Rocking Chair Ranch in Navajo County. Phase I will generate 64 megawatts of wind energy with 30 wind turbines. When fully constructed, the project could provide up to 378 megawatts of wind energy from 100 to 200 turbines.

In addition to Interior agencies, the project partners included the Arizona State Land Department, Rocking Chair Ranch, Navajo County, Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation, Iberdrola Renewables -- and the Salt River Project, which has agreed to buy the power produced here. Their efforts were recognized at the dedication by the Department of Energy's presentation of its Carpe Ventem (Seize the Wind) Award.

“We stand here today, united in our belief that wind energy will play a role in both Arizona's and our Nation's green energy future,” said Salazar, who noted that Arizona has set statewide renewable energy goals. The Arizona Corporation Commission's Environmental Portfolio Standard requires utilities to procure 15 percent of the state's electricity from renewables by 2025.

Salazar noted that President Obama has encouraged the expanded use of renewable energy and launched initiatives to spur the development of these resources on U.S. public lands, most of which Interior manages. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the President and Congress made $41 million available to facilitate a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of renewables on public lands.

“At Interior we have made the production, development, and delivery of renewable energy one of our highest priorities,” Salazar said. “I have directed our agencies to work collaboratively with other federal agencies, States, local communities and private landowners to encourage the timely and responsible development of renewable energy and associated transmission, while protecting and enhancing the Nation's water, wildlife, cultural, and other natural resources.”

Interior has set aside 1,000 square miles of public lands in 24 Solar Energy Study Areas, for example, that it is evaluating for solar energy development across the West. If developed, these tracts could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity. We have established renewable energy coordinating offices and teams in 10 western states to expedite development.

Salazar offered a special note of thanks to private landowner Bill Elkins, of the Rocking Chair Ranch, who has been very supportive and actually was the person who proposed the area for this Project.

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