Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s leading wind power company, has started up the Penascal wind farm in the state of Texas. This is the largest facility operated by the company worldwide with installed capacity of 404 MW.
The Penascal complex is located in Kenedy County (Texas) and comprises two wind farms: Penascal I and Penascal II. The facility has 168 Mitsubishi MHI 92 wind turbines, with unit capacity of 2.4 MW. Its output can meet the typical energy consumption of around 150,000 families and avoids the emission of some 120,000 tonnes of CO2.
The facility provides a significant socio-economic boost to the region having already created some 20 direct jobs in maintenance and operation of the wind farms. Around 200 people were involved in its construction.
The facility was built in line with the stringent environmental criteria applied by Iberdrola Renovables and the company spent over 4,000 hours researching the characteristics and habits of the bird life in the region prior to its construction.
The complex’s innovative features include a radar system that detects the arrival of large flocks of migratory birds and shuts down the turbines if visibility conditions present a danger.
The US, a key market
Iberdrola Renovables is the second largest wind power operator in the US, where it is present in 23 states. At the end of the first quarter the company had 39 wind farms in the country with installed capacity of 3,827 MW. The US also currently accounts for 41% of the company’s project pipeline.
The company has a workforce of 800 employees in the US – almost half the total – and has created over 14,200 indirect jobs since 2006. It has also made around $5.5 billion in purchases from US companies over the last three years.
Iberdrola Renovables plans to install 1,000 MW per year in the US in 2011 and 2012, a target that requires dynamic management of its project pipeline. The objective is to shore up its presence in the country’s eastern and north-eastern states, which have the most attractive potential due to the positive outlook for prices and demand.
With operations in 23 countries, Iberdrola Renovables is the world leader in its sector in both installed capacity (with nearly 11,300 MW at the close of the first quarter of 2010) and power output (over 6,812 million kWh in the first three months of 2010).