Texas gets another major wind project, and shoots ahead of renewables target

A 130-megawatt wind farm has been announced for Western Texas, edging the oil-rich state towards meeting the nation’s most ambitious goal for renewables seven years ahead of schedule.

TXU Electric & Gas and American Electric Power (AEP) jointly announced today the 130-megawatt wind power project on 31 October, 24 miles west of Abilene in Western Texas. It takes Texas even closer to meeting a requirement signed into state law in 1999 by Governor George W. Bush requiring roughly 3% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 1 Jan, 2009, seven years ahead of target (see related story).

AEP plans to begin construction of the 87 wind turbines this month and expects the Trent Mesa Project to be completed in August 2001. The company expects more than 515 million kilowatt hours of electricity to be generated annually at the site, enough to supply about 30,000 homes for TXU Electric & Gas customers. AEP will develop, own, operate, and maintain the project, but didn’t reveal financial terms of the contract.

The Trent Mesa Project is the fourth major wind power agreement reached by Dallas-based TXU Electric & Gas, establishing it “as one of the nation’s leaders” in wind power purchasing with contracts to buy 361.5 megawatts from various

wind power projects, and 11 million customers worldwide. “Under the Texas deregulation law, this places TXU Electric & Gas at almost twice the amount of renewable energy initially required under the new State of Texas legislative mandates,” commented Steve Philley, the project’s Director.

“We believe that wind power has become more commercially viable in today’s market,” said Dwayne L. Hart, AEP Energy Services Vice President of Business Development and Strategy. “We see exciting opportunities in North America as natural gas prices continue to remain volatile.” The Columbus, Ohio-based company owns and operates more than 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity, making it one of the US’s largest.

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