If you build transmission lines, wind projects will come.
Pattern Energy Group announced Thursday that it has broken ground on its Pandhandle Wind project, one of the first wind farms in the region to use Texas’ new Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission lines.
The CREZ lines, which link the Panhandle to the state’s main grid, are nearing their scheduled completion by the end of this year, and new wind projects are starting to crop up to take advantage of the new access.
“There are excellent wind resources in the Panhandle, but transmission was needed to harness those resources, and we played a key role in the development of those lines” said Pattern Energy spokesman Matt Dallas. “We are proud that this is going to be one of the first wind projects to use those transmission lines.”
The CREZ lines are a gamble that Texas politicians embarked on last decade, seeking to expand wind energy in West Texas by funding a web of transmission lines stretching from Dallas to Amarillo.
Pattern Energy is an independent power company with eight wind projects scattered across North America and South America. The Panhandle Wind project, located in Carson County, will have a generation capacity of 218 megawatts.
The project will qualify for the federal wind production tax credit, which gives wind developers a 2.2-cent tax break for every kilowatt-hour of energy produced for the first ten years of a facility’s life. A one-year extension of the tax credit was included in the fiscal cliff legislation passed at the beginning of 2013.
Pattern Energy said the Panhandle Wind project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2014, will contribute more than $100 million to the local economy over the lifetime of the project.
Pattern Energy also owns the Gulf Wind Project, which has a capacity of 283 megawatts and has been in operation since 2010.
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