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Texas Renewable Energy Projects

This page presents information on notable renewable energy projects around the state, representing the major renewable energy technologies.

The following is a list of Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) renewable energy projects:


Wind Power Projects
 
Delaware Mountain Wind Farm   A photo of wind turbines on a mesa in West Texas.

 

Owner:  

 

American National Wind Power

Size:     30 MW
Location:    Culberson County, Texas
Installed: 1999

American National Wind Power is a subsidiary of National Wind Power. This wind farm is National Wind Power's (NWP) first project in Texas and is located in Culberson County, northeast of the town of Van Horn in West Texas. The ranch on which it is built is used for raising cattle and deer and is also the site of the West Texas Wind Farm Power Project, described below.  Given the right legislative environment, NWP plan  to develop it to a full potential of 250MW. The power produced by the Delaware Mountain Wind Farm is purchased by the Lower Colorado River Authority (Austin, Texas) and Reliant Energy HL&P (Houston, Texas) for distribution to their customers.

 
Texas Wind Power Project
A photo of the LCRA's wind turbines in Delaware County, near Guadalupe peak.

 

Owner:  

 

General Land Office & Lower Colorado River Authority

Size:     35 MW
Location:    Culberson County, Texas
Installed: 1995

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) teamed with the General Land Office GLO) and private industry to develop this commercial wind power plant, the first in Texas.  The Texas Wind Power Project, located in Culberson County in West Texas, has 112 Kenetech 33M-VS wind turbines capable of generating 35 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power 12,000 to 15,000 homes.  Since the ribbon-cutting for the Texas Wind Power Project in 1995, the Texas' Permanent School Fund earned more than $750.000 from it. The project is expected to earn more than $3 million for the PSF and create $300 million in increased economic activity over the 25-year lease period.  For additional information see this GLO web page.

 
Big Spring Wind Power Project

 

Owner:  

 

TXU Electric

Operator: York Research
Size:     34 MW and 6 MW
Location:    Big Spring, Texas
Installed: 1999
 

The Big Spring project was conceived and implemented by TXU Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of TXU, Dallas, Tex, and York Research Corp, New York, NY. Turbines were supplied by Vestas, Lem, Denmark (US office: North Palm Springs, Calif). Projected annual generation is 117-million kWh.  This project is part of TXU's renewable energy program, called "TU Renew". Customers in the Waco, TX area can designate what percentage of their monthly electricity use is generated by wind power. 

Phase I
The first phase of the project consists of 46 Vestas wind turbines: 42 V-47 models and four V-66 models. The V-66 units are the largest wind turbines in the Western Hemisphere. They stand 371 feet tall with rotor blades of 216 feet in diameter. Annual energy production of the facility will approximate 117 million Kilowatt-hours of electric energy, enough to power 7300 homes. At their highest point, the four 1650-kW turbines reach 371 ft, taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Phase 2
The second phase includes four V-66 wind turbines generating an additional 6.6 Megawatts of power, or a net of 19.7 million Kilowatt-hours annually, enough to power 1300 homes near Waco.

The farm is located between Dallas, El Paso, Del Rio, and Amarillo, where wind resources, ranging between 14.3 and 15.7 mph, fall into the desirable wind power Class 3. Construction began in July 1998, and the first 600-kW machine was commissioned on Dec 2, 1998, the last 1650-kW machine on April 22, 1999. Rich Nerzig, facility manager, commented that commissioning and startup proceeded on schedule, although some crane erection days were lost because of high winds that made lifts impractical.  

 

Southwest Mesa Wind Project  
Southwest Mesa Wind Project at sunset
Photo courtesy FPL Energy

Owner:  

West Texas Energy Partners LP,
a subsidiary of FPL Energy

Size:     75 MW
Location:    McCamey, TX
Installed: May 1999

 

This project consists of 107 Multipower 48 NEG Micon WTGs.  Located 350 miles southwest of Dallas, the Southwest Mesa Wind Energy Project sits atop a 2000 feet mesa. The local communities and local landowners welcome the project and the long term business activities it provides. During the construction of the project more than 200 jobs were provided on-site and many local subcontractors were involved. The wind farm was completed in only 4 months. American Electric Power purchases the power in a response to their customer’s demand for renewables. The wind farm generates sufficient electricity to meet the demand of more than 20,000 households.

In 2001 by resolution of the Texas legislature McCamey was declared the "Wind Energy Capital of Texas"
 

More information on wind power in Texas:

 


 Solar Power Projects
 
Watts On Schools
A map showing the locations of the Watts On Schools solar installations.
 

Watts On Schools is American Electric Power's way of bringing solar power to schools in communities throughout Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Through Watts On Schools, AEP has installed nineteen solar energy systems totaling 76 kW at public elementary, middle, and high schools located within the service areas of three of its electric utility operating companies:

  • AEP - Central Power and Light Company
  • AEP - Southwestern Electric Power Company, and
  • AEP - West Texas Utilities Company

Each system is capable of producing enough energy each month to power a typical Texas home. Participating schools receive the energy produced by the systems for free, lowering the schools' electric bills every month. In addition, participating schools receive solar energy educational materials and conduct solar energy events on an annual basis.

 

El Paso Solar Pond

An aerial photograph of the El Paso solar pond.The El Paso Solar Pond project is a research, development, and demonstration project initiated by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1983. It has operated since May 1986 and has successfully shown that process heat, electricity, and fresh water can be produced in the southwestern United States using solar pond technology. An organic Rankine-cycle engine generator was installed on site in 1986, making it the first in the U.S. to generate grid connected power, producing up to 70kW. Most of this power has been delivered to Bruce Foods Corporation for peak power shaving. This demonstrates one of the primary benefits of solar ponds: power on demand -- even at night or after long periods of cloudy weather.


More information on solar power in Texas:

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