Tuesday, December 31, 2013

West Texas Wind Soon Will Light Up the Region

Clean power: Renewable energy leads growth for Texas’ electric grid (Credit: fuelfix.com) Click to enlarge.
A 3,000-mile network of transmission lines designed to bring wind-generated power from West Texas to homes and businesses from Dallas to San Antonio should be fully operational by Tuesday, year’s end.

“There is a vast amount of wind energy that will suddenly be accessible to cities across Texas,” said Jeff Clark, executive director of the Wind Coalition, a nonprofit association focused on wind resources throughout the state and the Midwest.

Grid operators are on track to have switched on the last of the power lines developed as part of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones initiative, a $6.8 billion effort that began in 2008.

These lines eventually will provide pathways for up to 18,500 megawatts of electricity to travel from thousands of turbines — each as tall as a football field is long — on the windswept plains around San Angelo, Abilene and Amarillo, the Texas Public Utility Commission reports.

Texas already leads the nation in wind power with 7,960 turbines, each one with blades of 150 feet or more, capable of generating between 1 and 4 megawatts of electricity.  One megawatt is enough to power 500 homes under normal conditions.

The state has capacity, under optimal conditions, to generate 12,000 megawatts, more than twice that of No. 2 producer California.  The new transmission network expands the power grid enough to allow a 50 percent increase in capacity.

West Texas Wind Soon Will Light Up the Region

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