SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (May 6, 2022) – Clearway Energy Group (“Clearway”) hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the commencement of commercial operations for the newly-constructed Black Rock, a 115-megawatt (MW) wind farm that spans West Virginia’s Grant and Mineral counties. Black Rock is contracted under long-term power purchase agreements with customers Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and AEP Energy Partners.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the completion of a wind farm that’s creating both power and opportunity,” said Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway Energy Group. “This wind farm is the newest power plant in West Virginia’s long legacy of energy leadership and will play a central role in providing jobs and investments that help communities thrive. We’re grateful for the many local partners – including trade unions, elected officials, and members of the community – who helped make it possible. We also extend our thanks to our customers Toyota and AEP Energy Partners, who contracted with Black Rock to provide clean, low-cost power for their local operations.”
“AEP Energy Partners is focused on providing customers with integrated, carbon-free energy supplies that deliver long-term price stability and environmental benefits. Agreements like the one with Clearway Energy demonstrate the innovative energy solutions we can put in place to help our customers power their homes and businesses with clean, reliable energy,” said Greg Hall, Executive Vice President, Energy Supply, AEP.
“Black Rock is helping Toyota achieve its goals in carbon neutrality by adding more clean, renewable wind-powered energy to the grid than the electricity used in our operations in West Virginia, as well as helping to improve the local communities by increasing the number green jobs in the state,” commented Kevin Butt, regional environmental sustainability director for Toyota Motor North America.
Black Rock is home to 23 state-of-the-art wind turbines that will generate enough electricity to power 55,000 homes every year. The new wind farm will also increase the state’s wind energy generation by 15 percent.
“Throughout my time in Congress, I have remained a strong supporter of an all-of-the-above energy approach, and it’s important that West Virginia continue to advance its role as a leader in energy production,” Senator Capito said. “Not only will Black Rock Wind Farm help our state achieve this goal and help us continue to diversify our energy portfolio, but it will also create jobs and generate millions in state and local taxes long after the project is operational. I have been supportive of this project, and I am confident it will greatly benefit the residents of Grant and Mineral counties.”
Black Rock created more than 200 union jobs during construction and nearly a dozen jobs in ongoing operations. Clearway is one of the largest taxpayers in Grant and Mineral counties, with Black Rock contributing $12 million in property taxes and $9 million in Business and Occupancy taxes during the life of the project.
“Black Rock represents a tremendous investment by Clearway in our state,” said Mitch Carmichael, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Economic Development. “With the infusion of three wind farms in the Potomac Highlands area, including Black Rock, the company has made a meaningful impact on the local region.”
Friday’s ceremony began with introductory remarks from Delegate Gary Howell (R-Mineral), followed by the national anthem sung by students from nearby Elk Garden Primary School. Craig Cornelius, CEO of Clearway, then highlighted the development of Black Rock and the benefits that it brings to West Virginia’s diverse energy portfolio.
Cornelius, along with a cadre of state and federally-elected officials and partners from Toyota and AEP, cut the ceremonial ribbon with wind turbines spinning behind them. Clearway then invited guests on a bus tour to see the wind turbines and substations.
State Senate President, Craig Blair, proclaimed, “We are proud that Clearway now calls West Virginia home to multiple wind projects. Clearway’s team is helping to lead the way in the diversification of our energy portfolio. We applaud their efforts to continue our tradition of energy production.”
“Our members not only appreciated the good jobs building this wind project, they are proud to be involved with this cutting edge technology as well,” said Steve White, ACT Director, WV State Building Trades.
Also in attendance at the event were members of the Clearway Community Benefit Fund Committee. The fund will distribute $130,000 in grants in 2022 and $50,000 annually over the life of the project.
Black Rock reached commercial operations in February 2022. Clearway’s 550 MW portfolio in the state includes another 120 MW wind farm under development in the same region.