One of the largest wind power contracts in U.S. history has been announced by TXU Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of TXU Corp. and FPL Energy LLC, the independent power production subsidiary of FPL Group Inc. The 160 MW project will generate enough electricity to annually power about 29,000 homes for Texas customers.
TXU Electric has selected FPL Energy for the project. FPL Energy will build, own and operate 242 wind turbines in West Texas. Each white wind turbine stands 166 feet tall and weighs a total of 143,000 pounds. The fiberglass blades are 76 feet long.
Construction will begin late this year, and FPL Energy officials say that TXU Electric customers should be receiving the renewable energy by the third quarter of 2001. Under the contract, FPL Energy will provide approximately 500 million-kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
“This project will be a major addition to our use of wind energy, and it clearly solidifies TXU Electric as a renewable energy leader in America,” said Steve Philley, TXU Electric Energy Supply vice president. “As one of the largest purchases of wind power in North America, this is a landmark agreement in the renewable energy industry.”
“We are pleased that TXU Electric and the state of Texas support renewable energy and, as the nation’s largest generator of wind power, we are proud to be the company chosen to provide this clean power to TXU Electric and its customers,” said Lew Hay, FPL Energy president.
FPL Energy currently operates wind farms in five states with 974 MW of capacity and a net FPL Energy ownership of 587 MW. The company expects to add 500 to 1,000 MW of wind energy projects to its portfolio by the end of 2001.
Wind power represents nearly 15 percent of FPL Energy’s portfolio with a total of 85 percent of FPL Energy’s electric generation fueled by renewable sources or clean-burning natural gas.
The West Texas wind facility strengthens FPL Energy’s position in Texas, which includes a 1,000 MW natural gas plant in Paris. Also included is FPL Energy’s 75 MW Southwest Mesa Wind Farm in the Odessa-Midland area.
Wind turbines generate electricity when West Texas winds turn the turbine blades and spin a shaft connected to a generator. The resulting renewable electrical energy then is carried through transmission lines to customers.
“Newer technologies and economies of scale make this a clean, cost-efficient energy source, and we’re very pleased to be supporting renewable energy for TXU Electric customers,” Philley said.
TXU Electric sought Requests For Proposals for this project in support of a state goal to increase additional renewable energy. The state goal is part of the Texas electric deregulation bill, which TXU Electric supported.
The West Texas project comes two years after TXU Electric began providing green power from the Big Spring Wind Power Project, which features the tallest wind turbines in North America. TXU Electric also has been a major supporter of the oldest currently-generating hydroelectric power plant in Texas.
Since the beginning of the year, FPL Energy has increased its portfolio by nearly 40 percent to 4,165 net MW. The fast-growing FPL subsidiary has power plants in operation or development in 15 states. The company has announced plans to build plants that would add nearly 2,000 MW to its operation by 2003.