Wind power in Texas
Wind power in Texas consists of many wind farms with a total installed nameplate capacity of 12,212 MW from over 40 different projects. Texas produces the most wind power of any U.S. state. The wind boom in Texas was assisted by expansion of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, use of designated Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, expedited transmission construction, and the necessary Public Utility Commission rule-making.
Wind power accounted for 9.2% of the electricity generated in Texas during 2012.
The Roscoe Wind Farm (781 MW) is the state's largest wind farm. Other large wind farms in Texas include: Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, Sherbino Wind Farm, Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm, Sweetwater Wind Farm, Buffalo Gap Wind Farm, King Mountain Wind Farm, Desert Sky Wind Farm, Wildorado Wind Ranch, and the Brazos Wind Farm.
Wind power has a long history in Texas. West Texas State University began wind energy research in 1970 and led to the formation of the Alternative Energy Institute (AEI) in 1977. AEI has been a major information resource about wind energy for Texas.
The expanding wind power market will help Texas meet its 2015 renewable energy goal of 5,000 new megawatts of power from renewable sources.
The table below lists the larger wind farms in Texas, currently operating or under construction. Wind farms which are smaller than 120 MW in capacity are not shown.
|Barton Chapel Wind Farm||120||Gamesa||Jack|
|Brazos Wind Ranch (Green Mt. Energy Wind Farm)||160||Mitsubishi||Scurry/ Borden|
|Buffalo Gap Wind Farm||523||Vestas||Taylor/ Nolan|
|Bull Creek Wind Farm||180||Mitsubishi||Borden|
|Camp Springs Wind Energy Center||130.5||Scurry|
|Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm||662||GE Energy/ Siemens||Sterling/ Coke|
|Champion Wind Farm||126||Siemens||Nolan|
|Desert Sky Wind Farm||160||GE Energy||Pecos|
|Elbow Creek Wind Project||122||Siemens||Howard|
|Forest Creek Wind Farm||124||Siemens||Glasscock/ Sterling|
|Goat Mountain Wind Ranch||150||Coke/ Sterling|
|Gulf Wind Farm||283||Mitsubishi||Kenedy|
|Hackberry Wind Project||165||Siemens||Shackelford|
|Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center||735||GE Energy/ Siemens||Taylor/ Nolan|
|Inadale Wind Farm||197||Mitsubishi||Scurry/ Nolan|
|King Mountain Wind Farm||278.5||Bonus/ GE Energy||Upton|
|Langford Wind Farm||150||GE Energy||Tom Green/ Schleicher/ Irion|
|Lone Star Wind Farm||400||Gamesa||Shackelford/ Callahan|
|McAdoo Wind Farm||150||GE Energy||Dickens|
|Notrees Windpower||150||Duke Energy||Ector/ Winkler|
|Panther Creek Wind Farm||458||GE Energy||Howard/ ...|
|Papalote Creek Wind Farm||380||Siemens||San Patricio|
|Peñascal Wind Farm||404||Mitsubishi||Kenedy|
|Pyron Wind Farm||249||GE Energy||Scurry/ Fisher/ Nolan|
|Roscoe Wind Farm||781||Mitsubishi||Nolan|
|Sherbino Wind Farm||300||Vestas||Pecos|
|Stanton Energy Center||120||GE Energy||Martin/ Howard|
|Sweetwater Wind Farm||585||GE Energy/ Siemens/ Mitsubishi||Nolan|
|Trent Wind Farm||150||GE Energy||Taylor|
|Turkey Track Energy Center||169.5||Nolan/ Coke/ Runnels|
|Wildorado Wind Ranch||161||Siemens||Oldham/ Potter/ Randall|
|Woodward Mountain Wind Ranch||159||Vestas||Pecos|
Several forces are driving the growth of wind power in Texas: the wind resource in many areas of the state is very large, large projects are relatively easy to site, and the market price for electricity is set by natural gas prices and so is relatively high. The broad scope and geographical extent of wind farms in Texas is considerable:
Wind resource areas lie in the Texas Panhandle, along the Gulf coast south of Galveston, and in the mountain passes and ridge tops of the Trans-Pecos. There are still 80,000 windmills operating in Texas, used to pump water.
Texas farmers may lease their land to wind developers for either a set rental per turbine or for a small percentage of gross annual revenue from the project. This offers farmers a fresh revenue stream without impacting traditional farming and grazing practices. Although leasing arrangements vary widely, the U. S. Government Accountability Office reported in 2004 that a farmer who leases land to a wind project developer can generally obtain royalties of $3,000 to $5,000 per turbine per year in lease payments. These figures are rising as larger wind turbines are being produced and installed.
The wind power industry is also creating thousands of jobs for communities and for the state. Increases in the deployment of wind technology and the various aspects of producing electricity from wind power may help to offset lost jobs in Texas if oil drilling activity on land and in the Gulf of Mexico subsides.
Sabotage and industrial accidents can be potential threats to the large, centrally located, power plants that provide most of Texas’ electricity. Should one of these plants be damaged, repairs could take more than a year, possibly creating power shortages on a scale that Texans have never experienced before. Coal trains and gas pipelines are also vulnerable to disruption. However, wind power plants are quickly installed and repaired. The modular structure of a wind farm also means that if one turbine is damaged, the overall output of the plant is not significantly affected.
Wind is a highly variable resource. With proper understanding it can be incorporated into an electric utility's generation mix. When providing for the generating capacity to meet the peak demand in summer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the Texas power grid, counts wind at 8.7% of nameplate capacity. Many areas in Texas have wind conditions allowing for development of wind power generation. The number of commercially attractive sites will expand as wind turbine technology improves and development costs continue to drop.
A drop in West Texas wind from 1,100 MW to 300 MW, as well as a failure of several energy providers to reach scheduled production, and a spike in electricity usage, caused supply problems one evening in February 2008. This resulted in interruptible customers being cut off to avoid rolling blackouts. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has said that technological advances will make it easier in the future to forecast wind energy, and that it would help to locate wind turbines in geographically diverse areas of the state.
The wind power boom in Texas has outstripped the capacity of the transmission systems in place, and predicted shortages in transmission capability may dampen the growth of the industry in years to come. It is said that until now, the growth in wind power "piggybacked" on existing lines, but has now almost depleted spare capacity. As a result, in winter the west Texas grid often has such a local surplus of power that the price falls below zero. According to Michael Goggin, electric industry analyst at AWEA, "Prices fell below US −$30/MWh (megawatt-hour) on 63% of days during the first half of 2008, compared to 10% for the same period in 2007 and 5% in 2006." In July 2008, utility officials gave preliminary approval to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from West Texas to urban areas such as Dallas. The new plan would be the biggest investment in renewable energy in U.S. history, and would add transmission lines capable of moving about 18,000 megawatts.
Large wind farms 
Roscoe Wind Farm (781 MW) 
The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas was the world's largest wind farm at completion with 627 wind turbines and a total capacity of 781 MW, which is enough to power more than 250,000 average Texan homes.
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center (735 MW) 
The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is a large wind farm with 735.5 MW of installed capacity. It consists of 291 GE Energy 1.5 megawatt wind turbines and 130 Siemens 2.3 megawatt wind turbines spread over nearly 47,000 acres (190 km²) of land in Taylor and Nolan Counties.
The first stage of the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center consisted of 213 MW was completed in late 2005; phase two consisted of 223.5 MW was completed in the second quarter of 2006; and, phase three consisting of 299 megawatts, was completed in September 2006. FPL Energy (through its subsidiaries) currently operates Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center.
Sweetwater Wind Farm (585 MW) 
Construction of the Sweetwater Wind Farm has proceeded in five stages and some generating capacity is still being built. Sweetwater stage 4 employs 135 Mitsubishi 1.0 megawatt turbines and 46 Siemens 2.3 megawatt turbines. Its output is being sold to San Antonio’s CPS Energy under a 20-year purchase agreement. Construction of Sweetwater stage 5 began in February 2007, with completion expected by December 2007. Using 35 Siemens turbines, Sweetwater 5 will have a capacity of 80 MW.
Buffalo Gap Wind Farm (523 MW) 
The Buffalo Gap Wind Farm is located in Nolan and Taylor Counties, about 20 miles (30 km) south west of Abilene. It was constructed in three phases and has a total wind generation capacity of 523 MW. All of the electricity Buffalo Gap produces is sold to Texas retail electric provider Direct Energy.
King Mountain Wind Farm (278 MW) 
The King Mountain Wind Farm is a 278.2 MW wind farm, with 214 wind turbines in rows along the south-eastern and north-western edges of a mesa (tabletop mountain) surrounded by deep ravines. Dust, sand and high temperatures place extraordinary demands on the wind turbines. Consequently, the design was modified for the desert-like conditions, providing additional cooling and protection against wind-blown sand. Annual electricity production is more than 0.75 TWh.
Other wind farms 
The Wildorado Wind Ranch is located near Amarillo and consists of 161 MW of wind turbines (70 Siemens Mk II turbines each with a rating of 2.3 MW). These turbines have the capacity to meet the electricity demand of more than 50,000 households. The Wildorado Wind Ranch was developed by Cielo Wind Power, of Austin, Texas, in conjunction with Edison Mission Group of Irvine, California.
The Brazos Wind Ranch, also known as the Green Mt. Energy Wind Farm, has 160 wind turbines, each rated at one MW and supplied by Mitsubishi, and was completed in December 2003. The wind farm sells generated power on a long-term basis, to a local power distributor, TXU Energy, to supply approximately 30,000 homes in Texas. Fifty per cent of the Brazos Wind Farm is owned by Shell Wind Energy Inc.
The Desert Sky Wind Farm is a 160.5 MW wind farm located near the far West Texas town of Iraan, in Pecos County. The site, visible to travelers on Interstate 10, consists of 107 GE turbines, each rated at 1.5 megawatts. American Electric Power (AEP) owns the facility and CPS Energy of San Antonio purchases all power.
The Woodward Mountain Wind Ranch in Pecos County has an installed capacity of 159.7 MW and is owned by FPL Energy. The wind farm uses Vestas V47 turbines, each rated at 660 kW, and the project became fully operational in July 2001.
The Trent Wind Farm is a 150 MW wind farm located between Abilene and Sweetwater in West Texas. The wind farm consists of 100 GE wind turbines each rated at 1.5 megawatts. American Electric Power owns the Trent Wind Farm and TXU purchases the electricity produced under a long-term agreement.
Eon's (formerly Airtricity) fourth Texas wind farm, the 126 MW Champion Wind Farm project, recently commenced construction five miles (8 km) from the Roscoe Wind Farm site.
Airtricity North America has officially opened its 124 MW wind farm at Forest Creek. TXU will purchase the electricity generated by the wind farm, which entered commercial operation in March 2007. The Forest Creek Wind Farm will provide the equivalent of 10 full-time jobs during its operation over the next 25 years.
Renewable Portfolio Standard 
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)|
The Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard was originally created by Senate Bill 7 in 1999. The Texas RPS mandated that utility companies jointly create 2000 new MWs of renewables by 2009 based on their market share. In 2005, Senate Bill 20, increased the state’s RPS requirement to 5,880 MW by 2015, of which, 500 MW must come from non-wind resources. The bill set a goal of 10,000 MW of renewable energy capacity for 2025, which was achieved 15 years early, in 2010.
According to DSIRE.org, "In 1999 the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) adopted rules for the state's Renewable Energy Mandate, establishing a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a renewable-energy credit (REC) trading program, and renewable-energy purchase requirements for competitive retailers in Texas. The 1999 standard called for 2,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewables to be installed in Texas by 2009, in addition to the 880 MW of existing renewables generation at the time. In August 2005, S.B. 20 increased the renewable-energy mandate to 5,880 MW by 2015 (about 5% of the state's electricity demand), including a target of 500 MW of renewable-energy capacity from resources other than wind. Wind accounts for nearly all of the current renewable-energy generation in Texas. The 2005 legislation also set a target of reaching 10,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2025.
The schedule of renewable energy capacity required and the corresponding compliance dates are as follows:
- 2,280 MW by 1/1/2007
- 3,272 MW by 1/1/2009
- 4,264 MW by 1/1/2011
- 5,256 MW by 1/1/2013
- 5,880 MW by 1/1/2015
Qualifying renewable energy sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave or tidal energy, biomass, or biomass-based waste products, including landfill gas. Qualifying systems are those installed after September 1999. The RPS applies to all investor-owned utilities. Municipal and cooperative utilities may voluntarily elect to offer customer choice.
The PUCT established a renewable-energy credit (REC) trading program that began in July 2001 and will continue through 2019. Under PUCT rules, one REC represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of qualified renewable energy that is generated and metered in Texas. A capacity conversion factor (CCF) is used to convert MW goals into MWh requirements for each retailer in the competitive market. The CCF was originally administratively set at 35% for the first two compliance years, but is now based on the actual performance of the resources in the REC-trading program for the previous two years. For the 2010 and 2011 the CCF will be 30.5%." Each retailer in Texas is allocated a share of the mandate based on that retailer’s pro rata share of statewide retail energy sales. The program administrator maintains a REC account for program participants to track the production, sale, transfer, purchase, and retirement of RECs. Credits can be banked for three years, and all renewable additions have a minimum of 10 years of credits to recover over-market costs. An administrative penalty of $50 per MWh has been established for providers that do not meet the RPS requirements.
Wind generation 
|Texas Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)|
Future developments 
An energy storage system is being developed for West Texas, which will allow excess wind power to be stored, and make wind more predictable and less variable. This 36 MW battery facility became operational in December 2012.
A 300 MW offshore wind farm is planned for Galveston, and 2,100 MW for the Gulf Coast of Texas. Making turbines that are able to yaw will make them more likely to be able to survive a hurricane.
See also 
- Deregulation of the Texas electricity market
- Electricity sector of the United States
- Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT
- List of large wind farms
- List of wind farms in the United States
- Pickens Plan
- Public Utility Commission of Texas
- Renewable energy commercialization in the United States
- Renewable Portfolio Standard
- Texas Interconnection
- Wind farm
- Wind power in California
- Wind power in Kansas
- Wind power in the United States
- AWEA Third Quarter 2012 Market Report
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- Tres Amigas
- Texas Offshore Wind Project Eyes Test Turbine by End of 2011
- Wind Turbines Can Be Strengthened Against Hurricanes
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- Perry Dedicates Expansion of Buffalo Gap Wind Farm
- Texas wind energy
- Wind Power Helps Texas Move Past Oil
- Texas oil tycoon plans largest wind farm
- Wind power experts say Texas grid needs work
- Wind energy in Texas – Reasons for success
- Head, Christopher (February 9, 2011). "The Curious Case of the Texas Wind Industry". The Energy Collective. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- Every wind farm of Texas @The Wind Power