Massive Texas wind farm operating
FORT WORTH — The world's largest wind farm officially opened in October, with all 627 towering wind turbines churning out electricity across 100,000 acres of West Texas farmland. Texans like to believe that they do things "big" and this is another example. The "energy" State, is gradually making up for depleting oil production in West Texas, by expanding wind power. "In the next 25 years, we will see a significant decline in oil production in Texas, and a significant increase in energy prices and demand. Wind power in Texas, is gradually, growing into a major part of the Texas energy economy, contributing to over $9 Billion a year. This will continue to grow." said Ben B. Boothe Sr., Chairman of Wind Inc. a distributor of wind turbines in Fort Worth (www.wind-inc.com).
The Roscoe Wind Complex, which began construction in 2007 and sprawls across four counties near Roscoe, is generating its full capacity of 781.5megawatts, enough to power 230,000 homes, the German company EON Climate and Renewables North America said.
"This is truly sign milestone for us," said Patrick Woodson, the company's chief development officer. "In three years to be able to take this project from cotton fields to the biggest wind farm in the world is something we're very proud of."
The complex is about 190 miles west of Fort Worth and 300 miles south of the land where billionaire oilman T.Boone Pickens had planned an even larger wind farm before he put a hold on it to wait for transmission lines, in July.
Texas leads the nation in wind power production, and this wind farm tops the capacity record of 735.5megawatts set by another West Texas farm southwest of Abilene.
Renewable energy makes up a small fraction of the electricity grid, but the wind and solar sectors were among the fastest growing in the U.S. before the recession. Wind power in Texas has grown again this year but has slowed from the 2008 rate. But most industries in the USA are showing significant declines and losses, while wind power continues to expand. "It is one of the growing industries in the USA." said Boothe, of Wind-Inc.
"We are expecting '09 to be a some what smaller year overall, but still a fairly solid year," said Kathy Belyeu of the American Wind Energy Association.
At the Roscoe wind farm,the turbines range in size from about 350 to 415 feet tall, and they're generally spaced about 900 feet apart, Woodson said. The land is leased, mostly from dry land cotton farmers who continue to work the fields around them, Woodson said. Texas is the nation's leading producer of cotton, most of it from West Texas.
"It's a use that appears to be quite complimentary," Woodson said. "This whole community was extremely welcoming to us."