In October of last year a new wind farm project began construction in Texas roughly 200 miles northwest of Austin. Aviator Wind, LLC, once completed, will be a 525-megawatt farm with 191 wind turbines. It will be the largest single-phase, single-site wind project in the United States. With a projected commercial operation date of next month, it already has power purchase agreements with McDonalds and Facebook.
A first for McDonalds
The agreement with McDonalds was signed last fall. It is the first wind energy contract McDonalds has signed. They are hoping that this contract, along with another signed with an unnamed solar company also in Texas, will help them meet their Climate Action Target. The target they have set for themselves is to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 36% by 2030.
Unlike McDonalds, Facebook was the largest corporate buyer of renewable power at the end of 2018. They even beat out Google for the title. Last September, they signed a power purchase agreement with the Aviator wind farm for 200-megawatts of power.
Aviator Wind is not a first for Kansai
A Japanese firm, Kansai Electric Power recently purchased a 48.5% stake in the wind farm. This is their first onshore wind project in the United States, but most likely not its last. A press release by the company states, “ The global megatrend of decarbonization has been encouraging the installation of renewable energy infrastructure in North America. Kansai is committed to making our share of contribution to decarbonization through further development of renewable projects in the U.S. and other parts of the world.” The Aviator wind farm project is their fifth global wind project. They also have stakes in projects in England, Ireland and Finland.
Wind farms are nothing new to Texas. In fact, Texas is home to many of the largest wind farms:
Roscoe Wind Farm covers 100,000 acres, produces 781.5-megawatts, and has 627 wind turbines.
Horse Hollow Wind Energy covers 47,000 acres, produces 735.5-megawatts, and has 421 wind turbines.
Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm covers 11,000 acres, produces 662.5-megawatts, and has 407 wind turbines.
Los Vientos Wind Farm covers 30,000 acres, produces 910-megawatts, and has 400+ turbines.
Wind power continues to grow
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Lone Star State had 14,198 wind turbines during the third quarter of 2019. Most of the wind best for wind farms blows on the western side of the state. So, years ago, Texas approved a $7 billion plan to support wind energy by constructing 3,600 miles of electric transmission lines. With that guaranteed support, wind energy companies flocked to the state. The wind power industry now supplies 25,000 jobs for Texans. With the fluctuations in fossil-fuel futures, wind farms will most likely continue to spout up in the landscapes of Texas.