Mesa Power has placed an order with General Electric to purchase 667 wind turbines capable of generating 1,000MW of electricity, enough to power more than 300,000 average US homes.
The agreement is part of the first phase in the development of the four-phase Pampa Wind Project, which will eventually provide more than 4,000MW of electricity, or enough for 1.3 million homes. When all the phases of the project are completed in 2014, the wind farm will be five times as big as the US’s current largest wind power project, now producing 736MW.
T. Boone Pickens, head of Mesa Power, said he expects that first phase of the project will cost about $2bn, and that electricity from the project will be on-line by early 2011. When complete, the Pampa Wind Project will cover some 400,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle.
In August of 2007, Mesa Power filed documents with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to add the 4,000MW of wind-generated electricity to the power grid in Texas. ERCOT, which operates as part of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), manages the state’s power grid.
The Texas Panhandle, with its wide-open space, low population and steady winds, is a logical location for wind-generated energy. Studies show the Texas Panhandle winds are optimal for such a project, blowing much of the time in the middle of the day when electricity demand is at its peak.
Mesa Power has leased land in Carson, Gray, Hemphill, Roberts and Wheeler counties in the state, where the landowners will receive annual royalties for the wind turbines operating on their property.
An economic impact study, commissioned by Mesa Power, projects that project would generate an estimated 1,500 jobs during the construction phase, and 720 during a typical year of the operation phase.
GE will deliver the 1.5ME wind turbines in 2010 and 2011.