Clarendon could soon play a part in bringing valuable wind energy to people across the state of Texas. NewsChannel 10’s Marissa Bagg explains a project that would plug the area into the electric market.
The Public Utility Commission is considering a proposal known as the Panhandle Loop. The project is intended to connect up to 8,000 mega watts of wind, natural gas and coal-fired generation. Hopefully bringing money and new jobs to this area.
“My hope for the panhandle is that this will be so great that all the major communities will want to hook onto this the ERCOT network is very extensive and it’s a huge market for us to tap,” says Landon Lambert, Donley County Attorney.
ERCOT refers to the electric grid operated by the Reliability Council of Texas. If the PUC approves the Panhandle Loop plan, it would connect power producers in the area with customers in Dallas, Austin, even San Antonio.
The $1.5 billion dollar transmission system would harness power through wind farms. And Lambert says Clarendon is perfectly positioned for the kind of upward or downward wind that’s needed.
“Communities that have farmland on the edge of the caprock are going to benefit the most because they’ll have the most desirable location for these wind farms,” says Lambert.
The Loop requires 800 miles of electric transmission lines connected in a fingerlike layout. One would start in Amarillo and head southeast through Donley and Hardeman county.
“It’s such a good thing for the surrounding area to get a project to come to this area, most times we feel left out like everything goes but this is a good project,” says Mark White, the Mayor of Clarendon.
The loop would be deemed open access. Meaning any wind coal or natural gas generator is welcome to use the system to access the ercot power market.
“If you can pay or get arrangement or a grant to hook into it, you can sell the wind, it’s going to be a free market,” says Lambert.
Which could bring a lot of people to the Clarendon area to live and work.
“It’s going to be huge change for our county and almost every county in the panhandle and it’s about dog-gone time,” says Lambert.
The Public Utility Commission should come to a decision on the Panhandle Loop in the next few weeks. If it passes, the loop could be complete by 2010.
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