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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

World's Largest Wind Farm to be Built in Texas

World's Largest Wind Farm to be Built in Texas

Shell WindEnergy Inc. and Luminant announced last week that they plan to build a 3,000-megawatt wind power plant in the Texas Panhandle. That's more than four times the size of the largest wind farm currently in operation. The proposed wind facility would be located in Briscoe County to take advantage of excellent wind resources and a relatively low cost of transmitting the wind power to wholesale markets. The two companies will also explore using compressed air energy storage, which uses electric fans to force air into underground caverns, compressing it, and usually involves employing the compressed air as an oxygen source for a gas turbine. The companies did not announce a timeline for either project. Luminant was formerly called TXU Power and is a subsidiary of TXU Corporation.

Texas already holds the record for the world's largest wind farm, the 735-megawatt Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, which was completed by FPL Energy, Inc. in late 2006. It also is the site for the nation's second-largest wind farm, the 504.8-megawatt Sweetwater wind project, the fourth phase of which attained commercial operation in May. Catamount Energy Corp. and Babcock & Brown developed and constructed Sweetwater 4, and are currently funding the development and construction of the project's fifth phase, which will add another 80.5 megawatts. And Colorado will soon host the nation's third-largest wind farm (erroneously announced as the second largest) with the construction of the 400-megawatt Peetz Table Wind Energy Center in northeast Colorado. FPL Energy broke ground on the project in May and expects to complete its construction this year.

FPL Energy is a leading U.S. developer and operator of wind farms, and it plans to maintain its leadership over the next five years. The company announced on Monday that it intends to add another 2,000 megawatts of wind power to its portfolio by the end of 2008, followed by 1,500 to 2,000 megawatts of new wind power capacity each year through 2012, for a total of up to 10,000 megawatts of new wind power. The company currently has 1,000 megawatts of wind power under construction, including the Peetz wind plant, and claims to have more than 14,000 megawatts of wind power projects in various stages of development. See the FPL Energy press release.

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