CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Construction is underway on a new wind farm that will include 23 new turbines on the Grant-Mineral county line.
The Clearway Energy project was announced by Gov. Jim Justice, company officials and others Monday.
Clearway, which already operates the Pinnacle Wind Farm in Mineral County, hopes to have the new Block Rock Wind project in operation by before the end of 2021.
Clearway Energy CEO Craig Cornelius said 115-megawatt wind farm will be a financial boost to the Potomac Highlands and the state.
“An overall capital investment of over $200 million of which we expect $52 million will be spent on payroll and services during the construction process,” Cornelius said.
Two-hundred union jobs will be created during construction. The company plans a job fair later this year for permanent positions. The turbines will produce 5 mega-watts each. Clearway has contracts with two companies in West Virginia to receive the power.
“Once they’re running the power they provide to Toyota and AEP (American Electric Power) is going to make those project customers more cost-efficient and more sustainable and put them in a position to continue to grow their economic activities in the state,” Cornelius said.
Gov. Justice said the state needs to continue to diversify its economy but in the right way.
“We still don’t want to forget, in any way, our coal mine jobs, our natural gas jobs, or our oil jobs and how important they are. But we have embraced our role as an all-encompassing energy state. We want to welcome alternatives, and this wind farm will absolutely amp up our wind production in this great state in a big way and will help us move forward with great jobs,” Justice said.
State Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch says the state is well on its way to diversification.
“This project is another spoke from that hub that we’ve created here,” Gaunch said. “It’s to diversify our energy portfolio and our entire economy in West Virginia.”
Cornelius said Clearway also plans a pilot project training program for those workers who have experience in coal mining or other parts of the energy sector.
“Successful applicants will receive free training, travel costs and stipend during training and those who successfully complete all the training are going to get a job at Black Rock,” he said.