U.S. reaches wind power milestone; Texas continues to be #1 prod - FOX34 Lubbock

U.S. reaches wind power milestone; Texas continues to be #1 producer

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Texas is number one when it comes to wind power energy.

The United States recently passed a milestone. 

The country now has the capacity to create 100 Gigawatts of wind power energy and Texas is at the forefront.

The state now produces 27 Gigawatts of electricity using wind 3 times more than Iowa, the second largest producer. 

Part of that comes from harnessing the energy of the Great Plains.

"It's very beneficial, we have a great wind resource. The Great Plains is probably one of the greatest wind resources in the world," Wes Reeves, spokesperson for Excel energy, said. "We have what we call 'Class 4' winds. That's the level of wind speeds where it's most optimal to use wind turbines to generate electricity," Reeves added.

The Hale wind farm, completed earlier this year, has 239 wind turbines.

The farm can create enough power for 184,000 homes every year.

"At any given moment, these particular generators can generate at capacity, 2 Megawatts instantaneous power, to put that in perspective... [a] 100 Watt light bulb, that's what we think of, and we're talking about Megawatts here, that's a lot of electricity," Reeves said. 

The wind farm is not just producing clean energy, it is also helping to re-invigorate the surrounding community of Petersburg. 

"This is very exciting for these rural communities, to have a company come in and say 'we're going to spend $800 million dollars in your backyard,'" Reeves said.

"The wind farm, in general, has already had a positive effect on our community," Cindy Porter, President of Petersburg's chamber of commerce, said. "Vestas and Excel have both encouraged their employees to shop and support the local people, and they've done just that," she said.

In Petersburg, the winds are changing.  The community with a population of 1,200 has been blessed to see the boom in wind energy. 

With the new tax revenue, there is enough money to build a new school.

"That's always been important to us, to help our communities develop," Reeves said. 

With the more than 100 Gigawatts the nation produces with this renewable energy, it could power about 70 million homes a year.

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