Monday, March 9, 2009

The Notrees Wind Farm Nears Completion

(Notrees is a tiny, almost-ghost town 21 miles east of Kermit, and it does have trees. It also boasts a big honkin' wind farm. This article is used without permission from The Odessa American. The photo, also without permission, comes from The Winkler Post.)


Drivers on Kermit Highway near Notrees might need to concentrate on keeping their eyes on the road.

Duke Energy now has 95 wind turbines up and nearly ready to enter commercial operation.

"All the turbines have been erected at this point. There's still some substation work that remains and site restoration, but we're expecting completion of all the onsite work in June 2009," Duke Energy spokesman Greg Efthimiou said.

Phase 1A of the Notrees wind power project went online in February during a test phase. The 55 1.65-megawatt Vestas wind turbines in Winkler County began spinning and pushing electrons on the state's power grid. A commercial operation date will be declared later this month, Efthimiou said. Construction of phase 1A began in June 2008.

Phase 1B, which began in October 2008 and has 11 of its 40 1.5-megawatt GE turbines in Ector County, has a commercial operation date scheduled for April.

The farms have a peak capacity of 150 megawatts. One megawatt provides enough power for about 800 to 1,000 homes.

Efthimiou said the turbines will provide up to 15 percent of the power needs of all Wal-mart and Sam's Club locations in Texas as well as their respective warehouses.

The project has provided an economic boost to the area, said Gary Vest, economic development director for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Each tower required between 100 and 150 workers to build.

"Sometimes they work around the clock," Vest said.

The base of each tower requires 400 cubic yards of concrete as well as lots of electrical work. Vest said local contractors such as Sun Electric, Dixie Electric and Saulsbury Industries helped to build the towers.

"That has a tremendous impact to our local economy when that's going on," Vest said. "It's hard to put an exact number on it."

Texas leads the country in wind power production, and companies like Duke are helping keep it that way.

"We've got a pretty large wind power presence in Texas for obvious reasons, it's a free and abundant resource," Efthimiou said.

(OTHER VOICES: Here's another blogger's view of the Notrees wind turbines.)

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...