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Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge

Project Type: Renewable Energy
Location: Roger Mills and Beckham Counties, Oklahoma
Project Start Date: 2012
Standard: Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
Project Owner: ACCIONA
Capacity: 132 MW

Project Description

This project partners with ACCIONA to utilize carbon offset revenues to help accelerate the development of wind projects. The Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge is located in Beckham and Roger Mills counties, Oklahoma, on more than 7,500 acres of agricultural and grazing land. Local landowners are paid to host the turbines on their farming and grazing land.

This project operates as a merchant plant, meaning it was built to serve the spot market. Most wind projects that get built in the US rely on long term power sale contracts. The higher risk profile of the project due to the lack of a long term contract helps establish the additionality of the offsets it is generating.

To address wildlife concerns, ACCIONA conducted environmental impact studies on birds, bats, and wetland habitat, which were shared during an extensive county permitting and review process during the project development phase. A series of public forums provided local communities the opportunity to review the impact studies and project plans. Following these forums, ACCIONA received the required permits to construct the project.

The Big Smile Wind Farm at Dempsey Ridge is named in memory of Jennifer “Jen” Koop-Krass, a former ACCIONA Energy North America employee who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer in 2011. ACCIONA named the wind farm in honor of Krass’ accomplishments and her ever-present, big smile.

Impacts & Benefits

  • The project capacity is a 132-megawatt wind generation plant, consisting of 66 Gamesa 2.0 MW turbines that are
    capable of generating enough electricity to power more than 46,000 homes.
  • The Big Smile Wind Farm project avoids more than 339,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year—equivalent to taking approximately 71,500 cars off the road (according to US Environmental Protection Agency methodology).
  • Employs a local staff of around 13 people.
  • Adds tax base to Roger Mills and Beckham counties.
  • Provides economic stimulus of landowner lease payments.
  • Allows land to remain in agricultural use.
  • Supports economy through purchases of regional goods and services.
  • Creates no air or water pollution.
  • Uses no water in the generation of electricity.

Validation & Verification

The project has been validated and the carbon emissions reductions have been verified to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).