The Gray County Wind Energy Center is FPL EnergyÂ’s first plant to achieve the prestigious Star status and the only wind farm in the U.S. thus far to earn the designation.
Â“At FPL Energy, nothing is more important than the safety and health of our employees,Â” said Manny Sanchez, vice president, Wind Operations. Â“This is a major accomplishment for our company and reflects the commitment of our employees to an injury-free workplace. We are pleased that OSHA has recognized the hard work we have done to achieve this important designation.Â”
VPP Star status is the highest VPP designation awarded by OSHA and is reserved for an exceptional group of worksites that design exemplary safety and health programs and have achieved injury and illness rates below the national average for their respective industries. In addition, Star participants commit to a process of continuous safety improvements that will lead to an even safer work environment. Acceptance into VPP is OSHAÂ’s official recognition of excellence in occupational safety and health.
In August 2008, a team of OSHA representatives conducted a rigorous, three-day safety and health assessment at the Gray County Wind Energy Center. Among the areas of excellence identified during OSHAÂ’s inspection were safety and health culture, employee involvement in risk assessment, tower rescue procedures and safety and health training.
FPL EnergyÂ’s Gray County Wind Energy Center, which began commercial operation in 2001, is comprised of 170 wind turbines and is capable of generating enough power for about 35,000 average Kansas homes.
FPL Energy has a track record of leadership in the generation of electricity from clean, renewable sources. It began investing in renewable projects in the late 1980s. The largest owner and operator of wind generating facilities in North America, FPL Energy currently has more than 5,500 megawatts of wind generation in operation at nearly 60 facilities (almost 7,800 turbines) in 16 states and Canada. FPL Energy also is the largest generator of solar thermal power in the world. The company co-owns and operates seven solar plants in CaliforniaÂ’s Mojave Desert, which are collectively the worldÂ’s largest solar site. In all, FPL Energy operates 310 megawatts of solar power.