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Horse Hollow in Texas Powers 180,000 Homes

Credits: ©2008 Wind Power Works

Texas has historically been known as an oil rich state. Now it has become the leading center for the wind energy boom that has been sweeping the United States. By the end of 2008 over 7,100 MW of wind power capacity was operating in Texas, more than any other US state. The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, spread across a vast area of West Texas, was the largest in the world. Through three stages of development it has reached a total installed capacity of 735 Megawatts (MW), with 421 individual wind turbines. On average, it can supply enough electricity for 180,000 Texan homes. The wind farm has helped boost employment in West Texas, which was in economic decline until the wind industry arrived. In Nolan County, where many of the Horse Hollow turbines are located, the oil wells began to dry up in the 1990s. By 2004, 20% of the population was living in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau.


Horse Hollow Location

Wind power has offered a new lease of life to the area. A study by the community-based West Texas Wind Energy Consortium found that over 1,100 of Nolan County's roughly 15,000 residents now have jobs directly related to wind energy. The area has also benefited from fresh tax income as more wind farms have started operation, Nolan County’s property tax base expanded from $500 million in 1999 to $2.4 billion by 2008. The increased tax revenues are being spent on new roads and school renovations.

Overall in the US, around 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today, a 70% increase from a year ago. They hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, turbine operations and maintenance and legal and marketing services. Last year alone, 55 new wind industry facilities set up business in the United States.

Last year the US installed a world record capacity of wind power - 8,300 MW. “The US wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo,” says Denise Bode, Chief Executive of the American Wind Energy Association, “ready to deliver on the President’s call to double renewable energy production in three years.”

Wind energy has flourished in the United States as a result of both national and state incentives. In Texas, a Renewables Portfolio Standard stipulates that 5,800 MW of the state’s electricity generation capacity must use renewable sources (mainly wind) by 2015.

Nationally, a study by the US Department of Energy concludes that 20% of the country’s electricity could come from wind energy by 2030.

Following Article from Sweetwater Reporter:
Saturday, 09 September 2006
FPL Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Group recently announce that as of the end of August, it had completed 662 megawatts of the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas — making it the largest wind farm in the world.

When the last phase of the project is complete later this month, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center will have a total capacity of 735 megawatts.

The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is comprised of 291 GE 1.5 megawatt wind turbines and 130 Siemens 2.3 megawatt wind turbines spread over nearly 47,000 acres in Taylor and Nolan counties. The first phase of the project consisting of 213 megawatts was completed in late 2005; phase two consisting of 223.5 mega-watts was completed in the second quarter of 2006; and, phase three consisting of 299 megawatts, of which 225 megawatts are already operational, is expected to be completed by the end of September. Once Horse Hollow is complete, FPL Energy will operate more than 1,600 megawatts of wind in Texas alone.

“The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is an important new source of clean, renewable power for the region that also provides significant economic benefits to the area in the form of taxes, new jobs, lease payments to landowners and the purchase of local goods and services,” said Jim Robo, president of FPL Energy. “Projects like Horse Hollow are possible because of the pro-business environment that exists in Texas today as well as tremendous support from the local community. Because of the strong support we have received in Texas, this year alone we have invested more than $1 billion to expand our wind business in the state and bring the benefits of this clean, renewable energy source to tens of thousands of Texans.”

FPL Energy, through its subsidiaries, currently operates 47 wind farms throughout the U.S. with a gross capacity of 4,002 megawatts — enough capacity to provide electricity for nearly 1 million average U.S. homes. FPL Energy is currently the largest owner and operator of wind turbines in the world.

FPL Energy subsidiaries own 3,793 of the 4,002 megawatts it currently operates. Since July 2005, FPL Energy has added approximately 880 megawatts of new wind and has more than 220 megawatts under construction and expected to reach commercial operation by the end of the year.

With a strong pipeline of wind projects and corresponding equipment contracts in place, FPL Energy expects to add at least 1,500 megawatts to its portfolio, excluding acquisitions, over the course of the 2006-07 period.

During the first half of 2006, FPL Energy’s development activities helped Texas supplant historic leader California as the top state in cumulative wind power capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

According to AWEA, at the end of the second quarter of 2006, Texas’ cumulative total stood at 2,370 megawatts of capacity followed by California’s 2,323 megawatts.

All of the megawatts added in Texas during the first half of the year were from FPL Energy projects.


  Horse Hollow Wind Farm Fact Sheet (109 kb)

  Horse Hollow Wind Energy Ctr Fact Sheet (359 kb)