More wind turbines soon will go up near Amarillo

A sizable wind farm already generates electricity at Vega, Texas, near the Route 66 corridor. According to an announcement a few days ago, wind turbines also will be erected east of Amarillo, near the Route 66 as well.

From the news release:

Westerly Wind, through its subsidiary Westerly Route 66 LLC and development partner, Big Sky Wind Energy LLC, has sold a project in Texas to a subsidiary of First Wind Holdings LLC.

Route 66 Wind Power is a late-stage wind farm development project located on approximately 20,000 acres in Armstrong and Carson counties, east of Amarillo, Texas. According to Westerly, Route 66 Wind Power has the potential capacity of up to 200 MW and is expected to deliver energy to the ERCOT power markets through the new Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission system.

“The Route 66 Wind Power project is well positioned to capture the excellent wind resource in the Texas Panhandle, and we are pleased to have sold this project to an experienced wind farm owner-operator such as First Wind,” comments Westerly CEO Steve Schauer.

According to the Amarillo Globe-News:

The companies didn’t disclose the financial terms, but based on estimates from the Alternative Energy Institute at West Texas A&M University, the cost of building a 132-megawatt wind farm would be about $264 million.

The turbines making up the farm will be spread out between Interstate 40 and U.S. Highway 287 east of Washburn, according to maps from the firms. […]

The companies plan completion of the project for late 2014.

The newspaper article says the new farm will produce 132 megawatts, enough energy for 70,000 homes when the turbines run at full capacity.

Nick Gerlich, a roadie who lives in the region, also reported that the second phase of the wind farm west of Vega also would begin soon, involving 160 turbines.

Wind power has become a big player along Route 66’s midsection. In addition to the aforementioned farms, others exist south of San Jon, N.M., all around Weatherford, Okla., east of Bloomington-Normal, Ill.; and a prominent turbine near the center of Tucumcari, N.M.

There probably are  others I’ve forgotten, but all of these wind farms didn’t exist a decade ago. That shows how viable wind power has become — especially when you have in inexhaustible source of it in western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle.

(Hat tip to Nick Gerlich; old and new windmills near Weatherford, Okla., by Carleta Latham via Flickr)

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