Or, well, perhaps we should not, big news in wind.
T Boone Pickens, of oil fame, has announced plans to build the world’s largest wind farm, with two to four gigawatts of name plate capacity. This wind farm is proposed for Texas, home of the world’s currently largest wind farm: the 735.5-megawatt Horse Hollow project near Abilene. The project is estimated to cost $6 billion (including transmission lines) and would begin construction in 2010.
According to the Star Telegram, the project would “put as many as 2,000 turbines on nearly 200,000 acres in four counties” in the Texas Panhandle. Landowners would receive upfront payments (reported $4,500) and 4-5 percent of electricity sales from wind turbines on their property.
Considering that currently installed US wind nameplate power is 11,603 megawatts, installing 2000-4000 megawatt in one project is quite large — and it is far from the only wind project on the books.
When it comes to Texas wind, there was other — less positive — news recently. Plans for a major offshore wind farm were recently canceled, with costs citing as the reason. While the 500 megawatt offshore project was cancelled, the same company is moving ahead with a 450 megawatt land wind farm project.
Now, staying with wind, but moving to the north, Pennsylvania is finding renewable power a positive addition to the state’s economy. By the end of 2007, Gamesa (a Spanish firm) will have over 1,000 employees in Pennsylania, with multiple factories and several wind farms in the state.
In the last six months, new wind farms have been announced in places as diverse as China, Peru, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Iowa, Minnesota and Montana. By one recent estimate, wind-energy investment will total $150 billion over the next five years in the United States, Europe and China.
Note, that T Boone Pickens would be between 4% of this investment. Simple calculation projects 50-100 gigawatts of additional wind power generation capacity over this period …
One result of the wind boom has been slower delivery of wind turbines and a spike in prices by as much as 25 percent. …. Gamesa’s U.S. chief, said turbines ordered now would not be delivered until 2011.
Well, this suggests that wind turbines and wind power are not a flash in the pan … and that there will be even more investment in manufacturing facilities to reduce this backlog.
Now, perhaps T Boone will be investing to bring turbine manufacturing to Texas for those 1,000s of turbines his wind farm will require.