Extracting wind energy from the Texas Panhandle

oil wells and wind turbines in Texas
Texas: It’s not just about oil anymore.
(cc) BBC World Service

Some people have called Texas the “Saudi Arabia of wind power,” and NACEL Energy is determined to prove them right. NACEL has already established four long term wind development rights agreements covering 1,025 acres in Donley County, Texas. Now it’s working on a fifth at Leila Lakes which it anticipates will generate 20 MW or more of clean, renewable energy.

NACEL Energy, of Denver, Colorado, is one of the first publicly-traded companies in the United States to focus exclusively on developing utility scale wind power. The company’s strategy consists of building smaller projects in the 10 to 30 MW range, near an existing grid infrastructure to reduce transmission costs.

Leila Lakes, the site of the latest development, is located within electrical proximity to NACEL Energy’s 10 MW Hedley Pointe wind energy project, announced in February 2009, affording additional flexibility with respect to interconnection and turbine siting. All five of NACEL Energy’s Texas wind projects are located in the Panhandle. According to the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, the Panhandle contains the State’s “greatest expanse of high quality winds.”

Collection of site specific wind data will begin soon with the installation of a 60 meter NRG Systems meteorological tower transmitting data back to NACEL Energy via an Iridium satellite uplink. While wind data is collected the company will continue working on interconnection engineering, turbine engineering, and obtaining turbine debt financing. Since all of these must be finalized before the project goes live, the company doesn’t expect to complete commissioning at Leila Lakes until 2010 or 2011.

If all goes well, NACEL Energy’s five combined sites in the Texas Panhandle will generate a total of 100 MW, enough energy to meet the daily requirements of about 30,000 average American homes.

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