News Column

Desert Wind to Power CEMEX Plant

Nov 19, 2012

Tomoya Shimura

If you drive on National Trails Highway toward Oro Grande, it's hard to miss two soaring wind turbines next to the CEMEX cement plant.

To cut carbon emissions and energy costs, the cement manufacturer has built a total of four turbines -- each nearly 400 feet from the ground to the tip of their blades. Two are at the company's Victorville plant and the other two turbines are at the Black Mountain Quarry in an unincorporated area of Apple Valley.

"The turbines are presently not running," CEMEX spokeswoman Sara Engdahl said in an email. "Right now, electrical work is being performed. We anticipate the turbines to become operational in approximately one month."

The two turbines in Victorville will produce an estimated 6,500 megawatt hours of electricity in an average year -- enough to sustain 650 average homes, according to CEMEX. The project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize energy costs for CEMEX, while preparing the company to comply with future carbon emission requirements, CEMEX wrote in a proposal to the city.

CEMEX partnered with Foundation Windpower, which specializes in building wind turbines on-site at California businesses facing high energy demands.

Foundation Windpower will pay for the construction and maintenance of turbines and sells electricity to its clients. The Menlo Park-based company will pay an estimated $5 million to build each turbine at CEMEX, Engdahl said, in exchange for a long-term electricity purchase agreement.

Foundation Windpower claims its customers will save hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in power costs over the life of their projects.

Wind is strong at the two sites, according to CEMEX, particularly during summer afternoon hours when purchasing electricity from the grid gets the most expensive and produces the most greenhouse gas.

Source: (c)2012 the Daily Press (Victorville, Calif.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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