By Woodrow Polston
The Firebrick Wind Project that is being developed in Audrain County by Tenaska and Cordelio Power continues as planned, the companies said. The effort to bring renewable energy to the area in the form of wind turbines commenced in January of 2020. The first lease agreement was signed with a local landowner if February 2020. Since that time, a total of 120 landowners have signed agreements to lease more than 30,000 acres of land for the project. Bill Pentak, public relations specialist for Cordelio, said that construction is projected to begin in 2025.
“While construction is scheduled to begin in 2025, operations are not anticipated to begin until 2026,” said Pentak. “The estimated total number of turbines will be between 80 and 100 for the project. The total cost for the development is $500 million, with 60% allocated for the turbines and 40% for labor and other expenses.” he added.
Benefits for landowners who have signed lease agreements include a guaranteed revenue stream for the land, reliable drought-proof cash flow for the 30-year life of the project, and minimal land use, as each turbine and access road will only use approximately two-thirds of an acre of land. The Firebrick Wind project is estimated to provide $2 million per year in combined payments to participating landowners. Pentak said that there are many benefits for the community as well.
“There is a projected $312.9 million increase to the local economy during construction and the 30 year operation of the facility. Significant tax revenues will help improve roads, county services, schools, police and fire departments, fund infrastructure improvements, and help to reduce the pressure to increase future taxes. The projected post-construction benefits include an estimated $2.4 million in annual property tax revenues including $1.5 million to local schools, $390,000 to Audrain County, $47,000 for the Audrain County Ambulance District, $103,000 for the Audrain County Fire Protection District, $86,000 for the Audrain County nursing home district, $87,000 for the Audrain County Health Department, and $77,000 for the Audrain County libraries,” said Pentak.
Cordelio estimates that there will be approximately 500 new jobs created during the construction and operation of the facility and 49 jobs created during on-going operations. The Firebrick project was acquired from Tenaska, a major U.S. renewable power developer, who will work with Cordelio to advance the project under a development services agreement.
“The Firebrick project is an important part of our effort to bring the benefits of clean power to Missouri’s residents, businesses and local communities,” said Nick Karambelas, Cordelio’s Chief Commercial Officer. “We’re excited to work with Tenaska on this project, and we hope to expand this relationship in the future as we continue to grow Cordelio’s development portfolio,” he added.
According to their website, Cordelio is a renewable power producer managing over 1,000 MW of renewable generation assets across North America, including 396 MW of wind and solar projects in Ontario (51%-owned by Cordelio) plus a 656 MW (net) wind and solar portfolio stake owned by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (“CPP Investments”). Cordelio also owns (wholly and through a joint venture) a growth pipeline of over 3,000 MW of wind, solar and storage projects in the western and mid-western US.
Cordelio is wholly owned by CPP Investments. Tenaska, based in Omaha, Neb., is one of the leading independent energy companies in the U.S. Forbes magazine consistently ranks Tenaska among the 50 largest private U.S. companies. Tenaska has developed approximately 10,500 megawatts (MW) of natural gas-fueled and renewable power projects. Tenaska and its affiliates have managed the acquisition and divestiture of an additional 10,500 MW of energy assets. The current Tenaska operating fleet includes 12 natural gas-fueled and renewable generating facilities able to generate approximately 7,500 MW combined. Tenaska affiliates are industry leaders in natural gas and electric power marketing.