GE Can Take This To The Bank: T.Boone Orders 667 Turbines For Texas Panhandle


This is amazing. A wind farm by T. Boone Pickens at a scale that dwarfs all others. We have to wonder: which has more "green jobs" impact, GE selling its appliance division or fulfilling an order for the world's largest wind farm?

Mesa Power LLP, a company created by legendary energy executive T. Boone Pickens, has placed an order with General Electric to purchase 667 wind turbines capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 300,000 average U.S. homes.

The agreement represents the first phase of the four-phase Pampa Wind Project that will become the world's largest wind energy project, with more than 4,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for 1.3 million homes. When all phases of the project are completed as projected in 2014, the wind farm will be five times as big as the nation's current largest wind power project, now producing 736 megawatts.

Pickens said he expects that first phase of the project will cost about $2 billion, and that electricity from the project will be on-line by early 2011. When complete, the Pampa Wind Project will cover some 400,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle.
Pulling some more out of the press release, here is the economic impact dimension to consider.
Development of the region's wind resources will also create an economic bonus similar to the boom the three largest wind farms in America have created around Sweetwater in Nolan County. While other towns in West Texas struggle with plummeting house prices and job losses, Sweetwater is in the midst of a construction explosion. Two new companies opened in the past month, one servicing the blades of the county's 2,000 turbines, another renting out cranes used in erecting new turbines. Tax revenues from the wind energy companies are bringing jobs, new roads and houses, and renovating local schools and hospitals there.

An Austin-based Resource Inc. economic impact study, commissioned by Mesa Power, projects that the Mesa Power wind farm will bring significant increases in jobs and income for the five counties of the project investment zone (Carson, Gray, Hemphill, Roberts and Wheeler counties).

The study forecast the project would generate an estimated 1,500 jobs during the construction phase, and 720 during a typical year of the operation phase; personal income in the project investment zone will rise by $68.7 million per year during the construction phase, and $120 million during the operation phase. The more significant impact during the operation phase is largely due to lease payments to be made to landowners in the project area amounting to $65.3 million per year.

Resource Economics estimates that the total value of economic output in the region due to the project will be $380 million per year during the construction phase and $1.6 billion per year during the operation period, and additions to the tax rolls of school districts in the project investment zone will amount to $2.4 billion by 2018, assuming the school districts approve an application to limit appraisal values during the project's first 10 years.

For an alternate perspective, see also T. Boone Pickens Rides the Wind

Via:: PR Newswire, Mesa Power Places World's Largest Single-Site Wind Turbine Purchase Order- Purchase is step one in T. Boone Pickens' plans to build world's largest wind farm near Pampa, Texas

Image credit:Chris Crawford Photography, Excerpted from the Road To Indiana Project, image of Clouds in Texas, Clouds over Texas Panhandle, January 2008

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