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Rush for wind tax credits blows like Panhandle winds 

Credit:  By Kevin Welch | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal | December 27, 2013 | lubbockonline.com ~~

The wind rush continues in the Texas Panhandle with developers hoping to qualify for a federal tax credit program set to expire Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Chicago-based Invenergy announced this week it had arranged financing to buy and finish construction of the Miami Wind Energy Center going up in Roberts, Gray, Hemphill and Wheeler counties.

“We’re pleased to complete financing for Miami, our largest wind project to date and our first power generation project in the Texas Panhandle,” said Jim Murphy, CFO of Invenergy, in a news release.

The project will comprise 156 turbines and have a capacity rating of 288 megawatts. The wind farm should be complete in the third quarter of 2014.

“We’ll decline to comment further past the release,” said spokeswoman Alissa Krinsky.

Invenergy bought the project from Pioneer Green Energy LLC of Austin.

On Dec. 20, a subsidiary of Spanish developer Iberdrola filed an interconnection agreement at the Public Utility Commission of Texas for what could be a $1 billion wind farm. Heartland Wind, based in Portland, Ore., said in the filing it will use 250 turbines rated at 2 megawatts each for the Pampa Wind Energy project in Gray County, for a total capacity of 500 megawatts.

Financial details aren’t available, but industry expert Ken Starcher at West Texas A&M University’s Alternative Energy Institute previously said he estimates the cost of wind farms, from legal fees to roads to turbines at about $2 million per megawatt, making the estimated cost about $1 billion.

“Right now we’re evaluating marketing opportunities for the project and at this stage of development we typically don’t go beyond that minimal confirmation, due to the competitive nature of these projects,” said Iberdrola spokesman Art Sasse

The company expects commercial operations to begin in early 2017, according to the filing.

A megawatt is enough electricity to supply about 350 average houses. But wind farms would have to produce their maximum capacity constantly to meet their listed capacity.

The connection will be to the transmission lines of Cross Texas Transmission to take electricity to the state’s larger cities.

Also filed with the PUC on Dec. 20, Cielo Wind Energy and EDF Renewable Energy announced their intention to connect with Sharyland Utilities for the upcoming Spinning Spur 3 Wind Ranch.

The project has a planned maximum capacity of 194 megawatts from 97 turbines in Oldham County to be operating by mid-2015, according to the filing.

The companies announced in late April Spinning Spur 2 west of Vega, which crews are still constructing.

To the south, the Mariah Project, divided into several projects, is progressing in Parmer County. The developer Scatec, of Norway, began construction of phase one in mid-November, said Jim Swofford, CEO of Scandia Southwest, another development company, and a partner in Scatec. The first phase would have a capacity of 200 megawatts from 116 turbines. Completion of the phases had been scheduled across three years starting with the first completion in 2014.

“I think that’s been pushed back to early 2015,” Swofford said.

Workers have done some excavation work on three phases to qualify them for the federal incentives, but work is focused on phase one.

Other interconnection agreements filed this year include: First Wind Boston’s Route 66 Wind Power in Carson County, EDF’s Longhorn Wind Project in Briscoe County, EDF’s Hereford 1 in Deaf Smith County, Comanche Run Wind Project by EDF’s Pacific Wind Development in Castro County, Pattern Energy’s Panhandle Wind 2 in Carson County and Lincoln Renewable Energy’s Hereford 2 in Deaf Smith County.

Source:  By Kevin Welch | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal | December 27, 2013 | lubbockonline.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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