Texan wind power grows again as huge turbines start spinning

Source: By Anmar Frangoul, CNBC • Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Turbine blades have started spinning at Duke Energy Renewables’ 200 megawatt Mesteno Windpower project in Starr County, Texas.

In an announcement Monday, Duke Energy said that the facility, with its 56 3.6 megawatt (MW) wind turbines from Danish firm Vestas, would generate energy to power roughly 60,000 typical homes each year.

While the announcement was made this week, commercial operations actually began on December 31st.

Duke Energy said at 590.5 feet, the turbines were “some of the tallest” in the U.S. and able to “harness stronger winds,” producing more energy in the process.

“The combination of taller towers and V136-3.6 MW technology is perfectly designed to extract the abundant resource at the site, and deliver low-cost, reliable energy to the community and customer,” Chris Brown, who is president of Vestas’ sales and service division in the U.S. and Canada, said in a statement.

Texas is known for its oil production, but it is increasingly a major player in wind energy. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Lone Star State had more than 27 gigawatts of installed wind capacity and 14,198 wind turbines during the third quarter of 2019. The nearest rival in terms of installed capacity, Iowa, had less than half (8.965 GW) of Texas’ installed capacity during the same period. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that installations can theoretically produce.

Last October, the AWEA’s “U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2019 Market Report” stated that, overall, the U.S. was home to more than 100 GW of wind energy capacity.

According to the AWEA’s report 1,927 megawatts – a little under 2 GW – of wind power capacity was commissioned in the third quarter of 2019. These installations pushed overall capacity above the landmark figure of 100 GW, according to the report.