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Cameron County, Texas, USA

Los Vientos Windpower 1B

Status: Completed Construction

Background

The electricity generated by the project will be delivered to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power grid at its Rio Hondo substation. ERCOT manages the flow of electricity to 23 million Texas customers—representing 85% of the state’s electric load. In 2011, approximately 9% of the electricity generated in the ERCOT power grid was supplied by renewable sources, including biomass, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, and wind resources, while 91% was supplied by coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. The electricity produced by the project will be consumed in the lower Rio Grande Valley area, also known as the East Valley area load.

The electricity produced by the project will be sold to Austin Energy of Austin, TX, a department of the City of Austin and the ninth largest, publicly-owned energy utility in the United States, providing service to more than 400,000 ratepayers in Travis and Williamson Counties in Texas. The City of Austin has established a renewable portfolio goal of 35% for Austin Energy by 2020. At the end of 2011, the energy generated or purchased by Austin Energy was mainly from coal (31.1%), nuclear reactors (27.9%) and natural gas (23.1%), while wind power accounted for approximately 8.7%. With this project, that percentage will increase to about 14.3%.

Description

The project consists of designing, constructing and operating a 201.6- megawatt (MW) wind farm. The main components of the Project include:

  • Installation of 84 wind turbines, each with a nominal capacity of 2.4 MW
  • Construction of a substation to step up the energy produced before transferring it to the authorized interconnection point on the state grid
  • an 7.5 mile transmission line to connect to the wind farm to the Texas grid
  • a SCADA system for remote monitoring and control.

Benefits

The project will increase installed capacity of renewable energy resources, reducing the demand on traditional fossil-fuel-based energy production and contributing to the displacement of greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants from power generation by fossil fuels. Estimated emission improvements include the displacement of 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), nearly 700 metric tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), and 330 metric tons of nitrogen oxides (NOx) per year.

Project Financing

Total Project Cost Reserved
NADB Funding US 110M - NADB Loan
US M - NADB Grant: BEIF
US M - NADB Grant: CAP
US M - NADB Grant: SWEP
US M - NADB Grant: WCIF