Saturday, May 17, 2008

Worlds Largest Windfarm

Twenty seven years ago, the second largest windfarm in the world was built just north of Pampa Texas. At the time, it was a whopping 175 KW. I know because I built it. Except back then, I called it a windranch. We even shot a documentary of it which was premiered at the big solar wind convention in Houston that year. After about 7 years of operation, the project was scrapped, and the pieces were sold to West Texas University.

Now, according to this report, Pampa will once again be a leader in wind. And this time time, it's the largest. Here is the story from The Energy Blog.

Mesa Power LLP, a company created by T. Boone Pickens, has placed an order with General Electric to purchase 667, 1.5 megawatt wind turbines for the worlds largest wind farm, capable of generating 1,000 megawatts, nameplate, of electricity, enough to power more than 300,000 average U.S. homes.

The order is part of the $2 billion first phase, see previous post, of the Pampa Wind Project planned in the Texas panhandle by Mesa.

When all the phases of the project are completed it will become the world's largest wind energy project, with more than 4,000 megawatts, nameplate, of installed capacity. When completed, projected to be in 2014, the wind farm will be five times as big as the nation's current largest wind power project, now producing 736 megawatts.

Pickens said he expects that first phase of the project will cost about $2 billion. When complete, the Pampa Wind Project will cover some 400,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle.. (clip)

"You find an oilfield, it peaks and starts declining, and you've got to find another one to replace it," said Pickens, who once operated one of the largest independent oil and gas production companies. "It can drive you crazy. With wind, there's no decline curve."

An Austin-based Resource Inc. economic impact study, commissioned by Mesa Power, projects that the Mesa Power wind farm will bring significant increases in jobs and income for the five counties of the project investment zone (Carson, Gray, Hemphill, Roberts and Wheeler counties)."( more)

That is almost exactly what I was saying almost 30 years ago. But it's actually weirder than that.

Boone's big order is with the same wind company that I used to site for all through the nineties. Even weirder, Boone bought much of the land and the wind rights from the same cousins and relatives that the first wind ranch was installed on.

He even built a huge giant pandhandle headquarters on the same family ranch that I used to hunt turkey on as a kid.

Yesterday, I got an email from a cousin in Washington DC asking about the project. Earlier, two friends from Pampa called me to ask if this thing is for real.

I told them that it most definitely is.

In my work with the Utility, I'm also leasing in the Pampa area.

Boone is also buying up water rights in the Panhandle. Much of it from my relatives. He probably plans to run the power lines for this wind power right with his water lines, much of it going to the thirsty population centers to the east.

Pampa is also famous as the place that Woodie Guthrie left during the dust bowl. He sang about it in his "So long, it's been good to know you".

"It was in the town of Pampa, the county of Gray,
Nothing was standing, it was all blown away" (third verse)

Woodie would have been proud.

Except for the water part.



Blogger katecontinued said...

Wow, small world. The Woody Guthrie song really pushed your story into the extraordinary zone.

Pickens said, With wind, there's no decline curve."

With global climate changes, can this really be claimed as fact?

7:08 AM  

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