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Lack of West Texas wind energy production during extreme cold affects electricity customers in other parts of state

LUBBOCK, Texas – A good portion of electricity delivered to customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin areas is provided by wind farms in West Texas. With extreme cold weather, those wind turbines cannot operate, thus causing a shortage in renewable energy available for use.

The frigid conditions cause the wind turbine blades to accumulate ice and if the turbines were in use, it could be a danger to those nearby on the ground.

“If there’s any concern about the safety of operating a wind farm or your personnel, then you don’t operate,” said Mark Harral, Chief Executive Officer of GroupNIRE, a Lubbock-based renewable energy solutions company.

The electricity is delivered to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also known as ERCOT. A lack of wind energy production could mean power outages as well for those metropolitan areas.

“There also aren’t enough natural gas producers in the state to make up the difference when those wind turbines aren’t available,” said Harral.

According to Harral, West Texas wind farm owners normally make about $20-30 per megawatt hour.

“With high usage right now, they could be making $9,000 an hour,” said Harral.