Duke Energy Corp.’s DUK business unit, Duke Energy Renewables, recently announced its plan of building a 200-megawatt (MW) wind project in Mesteño, Starr County, TX. Once completed, this project will be the company's fourth wind generation facility within the county.
Details of the Project
The upcoming wind project’s output will be sold in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market, wherein the company will sign a long-term hedge agreement covering the majority of the projected wind energy production. Post completion, expected by the end of 2019, the wind project will boost Duke Energy's nationwide wind capacity to more than 2,500 MW.
Vestas VWDRY, a global wind turbine manufacturer, has supplied 56 3.6-MW tall tower turbines for the upcoming project. The combination of tall turbines and Vestas’ V136-3.6 MW technology will be significantly extracting abundant resources and later delivering low-cost, reliable energy to customers across Texas.
Benefits of the Project
Currently, Texas holds installed wind-power capacity of nearly 25,000 MW. Apart from the installed capacity, almost 7,000 MW of wind projects in the state were under construction toward the end of 2018. Subsequently, to cater to the increasing wind power demand, the upcoming wind generation project in Mesteño will significantly drive growth for Duke Energy within Texas.
Furthermore, the 200-MW wind facility is anticipated to produce enough energy to power about 60,000 average homes. Consequently, we believe the planned investments along with significant growth initiatives undertaken by the company will enable it to provide safe, reliable and cost-effective wind power to its growing customer base.
Moreover, on the economic front, the project is expected to significantly benefit local communities alongside driving growth. It is expected to deliver tax revenues in excess of $16 million over the first 10 years of its operation.
Growing Prospects of Wind Power
Per a recent release by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable generation reached a new benchmark by generating 742 million megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity in 2018, which is nearly double of 382 million MWh produced in 2008. In this backdrop, wind power has emerged as the forerunner in the U.S. renewable space. Notably, wind generation rose from 55 million MWh in 2008 to 275 million MWh in 2018, contributing 6.5% to total electricity generation.
With wind generation currently expected to beat hydro as the Americas’ largest renewable electricity generation source by the end of 2019 (per an EIA report), growth opportunities for the U.S. wind market are ample. Naturally, to reap the benefits of the expanding wind market, utility companies are increasingly investing in wind generation projects.
To this end, utility companies like Next Era Energy NEE and Xcel Energy XEL are also investing aggressively in wind power generation.
Shares of Duke Energy have gained 21.3% in the past 12 months compared with the industry’s rise of 17.8%.
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