America’s only plant for disassembling and assembling nuclear weapons will soon be home to the largest federally owned wind farm.
“As a global leader in the wind industry, Siemens will bring reliable, secure and renewable energy to the critical mission at the NNSA Pantex plant.”
The NNSA awarded the contract to Siemens Government Technologies, Inc. (Siemens) to construct the Pantex wind farm which is expected to generate energy savings on average of $2.8 million annually over the 18-year contract term. The installation will consist of five 2.3 megawatt turbines located on 1,500 acres of government-owned property east of the Pantex plant in Amarillo.
The Pantex Renewable Energy Project highlights the Department of Energy’s commitment to federally mandated energy conservation measures by implementing an onsite renewable energy program.
“This event commemorates the most unique and significant wind energy project ever undertaken by the federal government. We are very proud of our national security mission here at Pantex, and this federal partnership with Siemens will provide yet another dimension of dedicated and responsible service to our nation,” said Steve Erhart, Manager, NNSA Production Office.
Ground was broken Tuesday for a wind farm that will have five wind turbines located on 1,500 acres east of the Pantex Plant, about 18 miles northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle.
A news release from the plant says the turbines will generate about 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or enough to power nearly 3,500 homes, and supply more than 60 percent of the plant’s annual electricity needs.
The wind farm will help the plant achieve President Barack Obama’s directive that the federal government get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The wind power project is expected to be completed by July 2014.
Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said in the release that the federal government is the nation’s largest energy user.
“Responsible development of America’s wind energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the Pantex wind project furthers our commitment to lead by example and to advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” he said.
The project will reduce carbon emissions by over 35,000 metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 7,200 cars off roadways, according to the release.
Texas leads the U.S. in wind energy production and has the fastest growing market. At the end of 2012, Texas had 12,214 megawatts of total wind capacity installed, which is more than twice as much wind power capacity as the next highest state and more wind capacity than all but five countries worldwide.