Texas was leader in wind energy in 2020
- Feb 8, 2021 3:38 pm GMT
Texas offered the brightest spot in wind energy in 2020, a year that experts say was the strongest ever for growth in the industry.
Developers built nearly 17,000 megawatts of capacity in the last year -- enough enough to power more than 5 million American homes. That's according to a report released Thursday by the American Clean Power Association.
Most of the growth came in the fourth quarter, when developers commissioned 10,593 MW of capacity. Roughly one fifth of the power generated during that quarter -- 2,197 MW -- came from Texas.
"2020 was a banner year for the wind industry," said Heather Zichal, president/CEO of American Clean Power, formerly the American Wind Energy Association. "Despite all the challenges COVID-19 placed on our businesses, we still shattered nearly ever–y record for capacity and growth. The fourth quarter was not only the strongest quarter on record, but it also saw more wind installed in just that quarter than in any full year except 2012."
Texas hosts more activity than any other state with 13% of the pipeline, followed by Wyoming (10%), Oklahoma (7%), Kansas (5%) and New Mexico (4%).
Currently, another 34,757 MW of wind projects are either under construction or in advanced development, 4,756.18 MW of which is in Texas.
Currently installed renewable energy projects in Texas will generate more than $4.7 billion in new tax revenue to local communities over their lifetime.
Texas is by far the nation's leader in both installed and under-construction wind capacity, with 46 active manufacturing facilities -- four times as many as second-place Iowa.
In all, 17.5% of electricity generated in Texas comes from wind. There are now 122,468 MW of wind energy operating in the United States, with more than 60,000 wind turbines spinning across 41 states and two U.S. territories.
There are roughly 15,000 turbines operating in Texas.
Wind energy construction surged in 2020, despite early fears from some experts many projects would be trimmed or halted because of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 2 million Texans and is linked to more than 38,000 deaths statewide.
Project owners commissioned 54 new projects in the final three months of 2020, including two of the nation's largest single-phase wind projects in history in New Mexico and Texas, the report said.
One of them, the 127-turbine Maverick Creek Wind Project in Eden near San Angelo, came online in 2020 and is able to power more than 200,000 homes.
Texas led with 2,197 MW installed, followed by Wyoming (895 MW), Oklahoma (866), Iowa (861 MW), and Missouri (786 MW).
Chris Ramirez writes about energy, commerce and all things business. Support local coverage like this by checking out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe
Top players in the Texas wind game
Roscoe Wind Farm
About 45 miles southwest of Abilene.
It's the world's third-largest wind farm, made up of 627 turbines that sit on 250 square miles of farm land.
Built in phases from 2007-09. Became operational in October 2009.
Owner: E.ON Climate & Renewables
Capacity: 781.5 MW
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Centre
Located in Taylor and Nolan counties.
Covering 47,000 acres, this wind farm is the fourth largest in the world.
Constructed during 2005-06.
Owner: NextEra Energy Resources.
Capacity: 735.5 MW.
Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm
Operating in Sterling and Coke counties.
It is the fifth largest wind farm in the world.
Owner: NextEra Energy Resources.
Capacity: 662.5 MW.
Sweetwater Wind Farm
Located in Nolan County.
Owners: Duke Energy and Infigen Energy.Currently ranks as the the world's ninth largest wind farm.
It was built over five phases from 2003-07
Consists of total 392 turbines.
Capacity: 585 MW
Buffalo Gap Wind Farm
Operating on Nolan and Taylor counties.
Built in phases from 2006-08
Owner: AES Wind Generation
Capacity: 523.3 MW
What exactly is a watt?
It's not like the realm of oil and gas, where you deal with barrels and cubic feet. A watt is a power measurement. It measures the rate at which energy flows, or how fast electrons move. So it helps to think of it more as the miles-per-hour measurement of the electrical world.
A 60-watt lightbulb will consume electricity at a rate of 60 watts.
One horsepower is the equivalent to 750 watts; your average mid-sized car in the U.S. is 170-190 hp, though horsepower for high-performing pickups can be 275-300.
One kilowatt is 1,000 watts. A megawatt is 1 million watts – which is enough to power roughly 200 homes.
Texas' wind portfolio
Installed wind capacity 29,407 megawatts
Number of wind turbines 15,359
Number of jobs supported 25,001 to 26,000
Capital investment in wind projects through 2019 $53.1 billion
Source: American Clean Power
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