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Walmart wind turbine generating power
Walmart celebrated its newly operational large-scale wind turbine at its distribution center on Highway 99W with a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the energy-maker.
The wind turbine is Walmart's first onsite industrial-sized wind turbine and will generate approximately 2,200,000 kilowatt hours of power, providing up to 20 percent of the distribution center's annual electricity use.
"If travelers on Interstate 5 or on the highway didn't know where the distribution center was before, they know now because you can't miss the size of this turbine," said Walmart executive Darwin Jones.
US Rep. Wally Herger, R-Chico, joined local officials, as well as Walmart and Foundation Windpower executives in celebrating the pilot project.
"I appreciate Walmart's investment into the county and this onsite renewalble energy project," Herger said. "We have for too long been dependent on foreign, and often hostile, countries to fill our energy needs, when right here in Northern California we have a treasure trove of power resources."
The GE SLE 1.0 Megawatt Wind Turbine is comparable in height to a typical 20-story building, with a tower measuring 265 feet tall and a blade spanning 250 feet in diameter, and is capable of producing power at winds of 5.6 mph.
Under the terms of a power purchase agreement between Foundation Windpower installed, owns, and operates the wind turbine while Walmart purchases the power produced at a fixed rate.
The Walmart distribution site, located south of Red Bluff, was selected for the installation because it provides an ideal environment for an installation of this scale, with good wind conditions and available land already owned by Walmart, said Walmart officials.
Herger presented Walmart and Foundation Windpower with Congressional certificates recognizing each company's efforts to work in partnership towards renewable energy.
The two companies were also presented California certificates for the project from a representative for Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber.
Walmart Distribution's turbine is one of more than 180 renewable energy efforts underway worldwide as Walmart works towards its goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy.
"The Red Bluff pilot project is an example of how Walmart has made the serious commitment to finding renewable energy solutions for its operations as we work towards the goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy," said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy at Walmart. "With the Red Bluff wind turbine now fully operational, we look forward to continuing to explore renewable energy alternatives to support our operations and reduce our utility costs throughout the country and around the world."
Should the technology at the distribution center prove successful, Walmart will evaluate the potential for large-scale turbine installations at other distribution center sites in the United States.
Funding for the project in the amount of $5.5 million was provided Seminole Financial Services.
John Pimentel, president of Foundation Windpower, said Foundation Windpower now has 22 megawatts of distributed wind projects in California and looks forward to completing additional similar projects across the country.
Walmart officials said along with wind power, the company has set a goal to bring solar energy to more than 75 percent of Walmart and Sam's Club stores in California, approximately 130 stores, by the end of 2013.
Walmart's current wind energy projects include a 90-megawatt wind farm in West Texas, providing 15 percent of power for over 300 Walmart stores and Sam's Clubs and delivering the power purchase equivalent to annual usage of more than 20,000 average American homes.
Additional wind energy projects include 12 mini wind turbines that power a Walmart store in Worchester, Mass., wind turbine installations at Walmart's food distribution center in Balzac, Alberta Canada and micro wind installations at the Sam's Club in Palmdale.
There are is also a wind power projects in Mexico and Northern Ireland.