Record breaking wind energy generation in Texas earlier this month gives way to a wind power project that should nearly double the state's capacity. Estimated to cost $6.8 million, transmission lines will be built to transmit wind energy from remote areas like Sweetwater to major cities like Dallas by the end of 2013.
Earlier this month, wind energy generation in Texas set a new record of electricity output of 7,400 megawatts. The peak generation on the afternoon of Oct. 7, accounted for 15.2 percent of the power grid under the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which serves a substantial majority of the state's population.
“This new record set on the main Texas grid is good news for consumers,” said Michael Goggin of the America Wind Energy Association. “Wind generation offsets the use of expensive fossil fuels, is pollution-free, and uses virtually no water, unlike the other sources of electricity.”
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The state is a national leader in wind power, while the number of wind turbines and wind farms continues to grow across America thanks to the federal tax policies, such as the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy, Goggin noted.
Laborers are already working hard to take advantage of the project's potential. “We’re going to work 12 hours a day through Thanksgiving,” said Pat Hogan, a consultant with McCurley Enterprises, a company helping with the construction. The only real break comes around mid-afternoon on Sundays when, he said, “you can get your clothes cleaned or go to the grocery store."
Some Texas landowners are not happy about the lines set to cross their property, even though they will receive a one time payment for hosting them. The rest of Texan consumers will pay about $5 a month for years to come in their utility bills.
Andy Bowman, president of Pioneer Green Energy, is looking forward to developing parts of Texas with relatively few turbines in southern regions, while other wind developers are eager to complete the lines in West Texas.
October's developments in Texas has been great news for the green economy in that we're starting to see wind energy become competitive on the market again.