Wal-Mart Rides The Wind In Northern California

If you get lost while searching for the Red Bluff Wal-Mart Distribution Center, look for the 20-story wind turbine just east of I-5.

A mutual project between Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville and Foundation Windpower LLC of Menlo Park, Calif., the new GE SLE 1.0 Megawatt Wind Turbine is Wal-Mart's first onsite industrial-sized wind turbine and will generate approximately 2,200,000 kilowatt hours of power annually.

Executives and employees from both companies, politicians and some of the local townfolk all participated in Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for Northern California's newest landmark. The Corning Observer has more:

Under the terms of a power purchase agreement between Foundation Windpower installed, owns, and operates the wind turbine while Walmart purchases the power produced at a fixed rate.

The Walmart distribution site, located south of Red Bluff, was selected for the installation because it provides an ideal environment for an installation of this scale, with good wind conditions and available land already owned by Walmart, said Walmart officials.

The tower component of the turbine stands 265 feet tall while the blade measures 250 feet in diameter. When the blade reaches the 12 o'clock position, the structure will reach 390 feet from the ground up (with a healthy 125 feet of headroom underneath the blade.)

All of this is part of Wal-Mart's mission to have its facilities supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. The company already has wind projects operating in other parts of California, Texas, and Massachusetts as well as in Canada, Mexico and Northern Ireland.

Funding for the $5.5 million project was provided by Seminole Financial Services, LLC of Belleair Bluffs, Fla., a company that focuses on wind energy projects.

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