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NextEra Energy to shut two Texas wind farms in a first for ERCOT

NextEra Energy Resources is planning to shut two of its wind farms in Texas after both were significantly damaged by ice storms in November.

The company, which describes itself as the largest renewable generator in North America, on Friday notified the Electric Reliability Council of Texas that it planned to shut the two farms in west Texas in August. The two facilities – the Delaware Mountain Wind Energy Center and the Wind Power Partners 1994 wind farm – have a combined capacity of nearly 78 MW.

“These are the first wind facilities to seek retirement in the ERCOT region,” Robbie Searcy, a spokeswoman for the grid operator, said Monday.

“We made this decision for economic reasons,” NextEra spokesman Steve Stengel said.

Ice storms that hit the region in November caused significant damage to the turbines at both facilities as well as the transmission system in West Texas, Stengel said.

“Estimates to fix the damage exceeded the economic value of the projects,” he said. “Therefore, we made the decision to cease operations.”

Delaware Mountain began commercial operation in 1999 and has 38 750-kW turbines. NextEra acquired the facility in 2002. WPP94 began commercial operation in 1995 and has 107 365-kW turbines. NextEra acquired the facility in 2004.

ERCOT’s standard process following a suspension of operations notice filing is to perform a reliability review to determine whether there is a transmission-related reliability risk associated with taking a unit offline.