Three surprising facts about modern Texas wind farms
Throw a dart at a map of Texas, and you’ve got a good shot at hitting a wind farm. With 117 projects online, Texas leads the nation when it comes to wind power.
In September, 2015, Comanche County, Texas joined the boom when Logan’s Gap Wind Farm opened. Comanche is a town of about 4,000 people, known for being the home of the “Old Cora Courthouse,” one of the oldest standing wooden courthouses in Texas.
On a particularly windy day in November, I paid a visit to Logan’s Gap, making my first trip to a wind farm. As luck would have it, the day of my visit happened to be a record-breaking day for wind power. Texas turbines generated more than 13,190 megawatts (MW) that day, a record broken less than two weeks later when the 15,000 MW threshold was breached.
As the blades turned, I learned some surprising facts about wind farms and turbines.
1. Wal-Mart purchases wind energy from Texas wind farms
Wal-Mart buys more than half of the electricity output from Logan’s Gap under a 10-year power purchase agreement. Companies are increasingly contracting wind power and locking in affordable rates for clean power. The nearest Wal-Mart store is 26 miles from Comanche, but their presence is felt in the form of clean air and tax revenue for residents and local school districts.
2. Wind turbine parts are American-made, some right in Texas
The 87 Siemens turbines spinning at Logan’s Gap are made up of around 8,000 individual parts. The nacelles and hubs were manufactured in Kansas, the blades were made in Iowa, and a majority of the towers came from Abilene, Texas.
3. The Texas wind boom isn’t slowing down
As I drove away from Comanche, I saw three trucks on the highway carrying wind turbine blades to construction sites. With more than 5,000 MW currently under construction, the state continues to be America’s wind energy leader. In fact, a second wind farm is coming to Comanche County. Alterra is expected to complete the 200 MW Flat Top wind project by the end of 2017.
It’s these sort of advancements that inspire me to help advance the wind industry and bring cleaner air and renewable resources to towns across Texas and America. It’s my hope that these facts inspire you as well, and may motivate you to join the Power of Wind network to advocate for the policies that will help wind energy grow.
Before you leave, meet Mark Pirkle, a rancher in Comanche, Texas who is leasing his land to Logan’s Gap Wind Farm.