Duke Energy to Construct Its Fifth Wind Farm in Texas

The company intends to commence construction of the wind farm in December. It intends to complete it and start operating it in 2012. This effort is part of a much larger one to add 770 MW (770 million watts) of wind farms by 2012.

As was the first Los Vientos project, this wind farm will be situated in Willacy County, which is 120 miles south of Corpus Christi, 20 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, will build, own and operate the 202-megawatt (MW) Los Vientos II Windpower Project and sell the electricity and renewable energy credits it generates to Austin Energy through a 25-year agreement.

"Purchasing zero-emission electricity from Duke Energy’s Los Vientos II Windpower Project represents yet another example of Austin Energy’s commitment to investing in affordable renewable power," said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf.

"For Duke Energy, the Los Vientos II project will help us put an additional 770 megawatts of wind power into operation in 2012. This will bring Duke Energy’s total wind power capacity to nearly 1,800 megawatts – enough to power more than half a million homes," he said.

Duke Energy Renewables will begin construction of the Los Vientos II Windpower Project by December and expects to bring the wind farm on line by the end of 2012. The number of wind turbines that will comprise the project will be determined once the company finalizes a supply agreement with a turbine manufacturer.

The Los Vientos II wind farm will be the second phase of a 402-MW-total project announced on Aug. 8. The first phase, the 200-MW Los Vientos I Windpower Project, is also expected to achieve commercial operation by the end of 2012. San Antonio-based CPS Energy has agreed to buy all of the output from the first phase of the project under the terms of a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Like the first Los Vientos project, Los Vientos II will be sited in Willacy County, approximately 120 miles south of Corpus Christi and 20 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. Part of Los Vientos II may also be sited in adjacent Cameron County, pending a decision by county officials. If Cameron County officials elect not to participate in the project, the entire Los Vientos II wind farm may be built in Willacy County.

In addition to the two Los Vientos wind power projects, Duke Energy Renewables has announced four other new wind farms in 2011, including:

The 168-MW Ironwood Windpower Project in Ford County, Kan.
The 131-MW Cimarron II Windpower Project in Gray County, Kan.
The 69-MW Laurel Hill Windpower Project in Lycoming County, Penn.
The 20-MW Shirley Windpower Project in Glenmore, Wis., which is already in operation

Los Vientos II will be Duke Energy Renewables’ fifth wind farm in Texas. Since 2007, the company has invested more than $1.75 billion to build its fleet of 10 wind farms across the country.

Duke Energy Renewables, part of Duke Energy’s Commercial Businesses, is a leader in developing innovative wind and solar energy solutions for customers throughout the United States. The company’s growing portfolio of commercial renewable assets includes 10 wind farms and four solar farms in operation in six states, totaling approximately 1,000 megawatts in electric-generating capacity.

By José Santamarta, www.duke-energy.com