Texas plan will get wind power to major cities

Posted by Laura Grant on August 12, 2008
Posted in Renewable energy

Texas utility regulators have approved a $4.9-billion plan to build transmission lines to carry wind generated electricity from remote parts of the state to major urban centres such as Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio, the US National Acadamies reports.

It is the largest renewable-energy investment in the United States, the report says.

In the past 10 years Texas has increased the amount of wind electricity generated from 7 percent to 26 percent of the US total. More than 4,100MW of capacity has been installed in the state, but it doesn’t have sufficient infrastructure to transmit the electricity being produced to the major centres, the report says. Turbines are sometimes shut off even when the wind is blowing strongly because of transmission problems.

The new transmission lines are expected to be complete by 2013 and public utility officials hope to be able then to transmit more than 18,000MW of wind power throughout the state.

Texas is described as having vast expanses of unpopulated, windy areas which lend themselves to wind farms. The largest one in the world, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, is there, the SECO says. It has a total capacity of 735MW generated by 291 1.5MW turbines and 130 2.3MW. One MW of electricity can serve 230 Texas homes on average each day.

Thirty-six states in the US at present produce electricity generated by wind, which accounts for 1 percent of all electricity in the U.S, ENN reports.

The American Wind Energy Association 2nd quarter market report says that the total US installed wind power capacity now stands at 19,549MW, up 2,726MW from the end of 2007. This makes the US the world leader in wind electricity generation. Germany has installed generating capacity of about 23,000MW, but the US produces more electricity because of stronger winds, the report says.

Sources: National Acadamies, State Energy Conservation Office, ENN,


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