This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 31, 2002

Large Wind Power Projects Planned for Texas and Idaho, Others Underway in California

Two planned wind power projects, both 200 megawatts or more in capacity, were announced in July for Texas and Idaho, while smaller wind projects are underway in California.

In Texas, Cielo Wind Power, LLC plans to build a 240-megawatt wind power plant south of Rankin in the western part of the state. TXU Energy has agreed to buy the power produced by the plant. Called the Noelke Hill Wind Ranch, the project will be the second largest in Texas (the nearby 278-megawatt King Mountain Clean Energy Center is the largest), and will be among the largest in the United States. It will consist of 240 one-megawatt wind turbines manufactured by Mitsubishi and is scheduled to begin operating by September. See the TXU Energy press release.

A project announced in mid-July for Idaho is in its early planning stages, but would introduce the state to utility-scale wind power in a big way. Windland, Inc. hopes to build a 200-megawatt wind plant on Cotterel Mountain, southeast of Burley in south-central Idaho. The site covers about 4600 acres on federal lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Windland is still conducting technical and environmental evaluations of the site, but intends to begin construction in 2004. The project would be the first utility-scale wind installation in the state. See the Windland press release.

Meanwhile, a new 10-megawatt wind plant is planned and a 61.5-megawatt wind plant is near completion in California. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) approved a three-year contract with ABB, Inc. to install and operate 10 megawatts of wind turbines in the Montezuma Hills outside of Rio Vista, southwest of Sacramento. SMUD expects construction in January 2003 and finish by late summer of that year. The installation is the first phase of the Solano Wind Project, which SMUD intends to expand to 45 megawatts by 2006. See the SMUD press release.

In southern California, Shell WindEnergy Inc. continued its pattern of buying wind projects developed by Cannon Power Corporation. Shell announced on July 23rd its purchase of the 61.5-megawatt Whitewater Hill wind park in the San Gorgonio Pass near Palm Springs. The wind facility will draw on 41 1.5-megawatt turbines built by GE Wind Energy, and will be complete by the end of August. Shell previously bought the 41-megawatt Cabazon Pass wind facility from Cannon Power. The Cabazon Pass facility is located in the same area as Whitewater Hill and is also expected to be completed in August. See the Shell press release.

GE Power Systems is already benefiting from its recent acquisition of GE Wind Energy. With a decline in sales of gas turbines, the company is cutting its work force and moving its generator manufacturing operations from Pensacola, Florida, to Schenectady, New York. But there's good news for Pensacola: GE Power Systems will begin producing wind turbine blades there to support its growing wind energy business. Although the company is cutting 2,500 jobs in Schenectady and other locations, no layoffs were announced for Pensacola. See the GE Power Systems press release (PDF 83 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.