Irish wind power company Airtricity, Inc. has signed a multi-year hedge agreement with Coral Energy — Shell’s trading shop — for Airtricity’s 126.5 megawatt Champion Wind Farm, 40 miles west of Abilene.
Big blades keep on turning.
The agreement helps get bank financing for the project and gives the project a hedge against drops in power prices. More significantly, however, it helps the project get off the ground without a power purchase agreement from a customer.
Building any plant in the Texas power grid these days without a customer lined up for at least part of the output beforehand is a bit unsual, given how much more cautious companies are after they overbuilt in the late 1990s/early 2000s. But there are exceptions.
The Champion Wind Farm will produce enough energy to power 35,000 homes and save approximately 225,000 tons per year in greenhouse gas emissions, Airtricity says.
Champion is the second phase of the Roscoe wind farm project, which is scheduled to enter commercial operation in early 2008. Its first phase has a five-year power purchase agreement. Airtricity has two other projects in Texas, the 124-megawatt Forest Creek and 90-megawatt Sand Bluff wind farms.
And as we all know by now, In 2006 Texas became the nation’s leader in installed wind capacity (sorry, Golden State). The state has upped its goal to 5,000 new megawatts of power from renewable sources by 2015.
Airtricity also said that it has set up a new trading and marketing team to manage marketing the output of projects such as Champion. Darrell Hayslip, formally of Calpine, will lead the Austin-based operation. I know Austin is trying to position itself as a clean energy technology hub, but does anyone out there have a problem with a trading and marketing shop — a traditional bread-and-butter Houston business — going to Austin?