SOLEDAD, Calif. -

City leaders in Soledad say they've broken ground on what will be the Salinas Valley's largest wind turbine when its completed this summer.

The turbine broke ground in January, and it's expected to annually produce approximately 3.5 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy to help offset usage at the nearby water reclamation facility. When wind is sufficient, the electricity generated will significantly exceed the facility’s needs, allowing the city to net-meter the surplus back to the grid, city officials said.

The project is projected to generate over $2 million in savings over 25 years.

“Our highest priority is always to protect our taxpayers, who work hard for every dollar they earn,” said Soledad City Manager Adela Gonzalez. “This project allows us to deliver them real savings with no upfront capital costs. It is a huge win for our city and our local community.”

The turbine is also expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2,500 metric tons. That's the equivalent of taking more than 500 vehicles off the road.

City leaders worked with researchers from Stanford University and the Ventana Wildlife Society to ensure that the project wouldn't pose any risks to the endangered California condors.