New Mexico-based Amenergy is eyeing one of the largest projects in the U.S. southeast, a 21.5 megawatt, $64 million project at the Ridgecrest Conference Center near Ashville. The company has filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission to approve the project.
The project would be at the conference center, a part of Lifeway Christian Resources, which Amenergy has worked with in the past. For instance, it’s reportedly planned a project for Glorieta Baptist Conference Center—also owned by Lifeway—near Sante Fe, N.M., but that project is on hold since the center may undergo an ownership change, according to The Sante Fe New Mexican.
North Carolina’s not really a target for Amenergy, according to Bill Oglesby, Amenergy managing partner. “It just so happens to be the case that one of our clients, which has multiple premises across the country [has this facility]. We engaged a relationship with them for one of their premises here in Sante fe and shifted focus to one of their North Carolina facilities,” he said.
The project will sell energy produced to Progress Energy, which will add the power produced to its grid network, according to Oglesby. “This is an investor-modeled project. It will be fairly competitive with grid prices,” he said. “Whether or not they will be at parity will be between the investor and the utility and how they structure the agreements,” he said.
Unlike some projects in the U.S. southwest, which are built in large, unwooded open spaces, North Carolina has a lush landscape rich with trees and less suitable for massive projects. As such the Ridgecrest project will consist of a series of smaller projects. “The first one is going to be 2 megawatts,” Oglesby said.
While Amenergy is designing the project it will look to use local companies to build it out. “As a project we’ll maintain all responsibility for executing the project. We’ve targeted several local firms that have the resumes to execute this type of project. Our goal is to keep as much revenue generated from this project in the local community,” Oglesby said.
Construction on the first installation could begin as soon as the first quarter of 2013, according to Oglesby. The company has already published a public notice of the project—the public comment period ends this week. Thus far Amenergy hasn’t heard any feedback, good or bad, about the project.