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The Lone Star State is the USA’s energy transition leader

4 min.

The Lone Star State is the USA’s energy transition leader

Texas is leading the energy transition as it is home to two of the United States’ largest renewable power plants: High Lonesome 450 MW wind farm and Roadrunner 497 MW solar farm.

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Texas has long been known for its vast oil and gas resources. Did you know it also leads the United States in terms of new renewable capacity?

The Lone Star State’s abundant sunshine and wind create a rather unique set of circumstances, such that these renewable sources balance each other out, making Texas the hub of America's energy sector.

Over the last ten years, renewables have provided important economic growth for Texas. The green industry continues to attract investments from all sectors.

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages electricity flow through nearly 90% of the state’s grid, Texas has 22,000 MW of wind power capacity thanks to 144 projects, making it America’s ‘wind leader’. In terms of solar, Texas is sixth in the nation, looking to close out the year with around 3000 MW of renewable solar capacity.

Renewable energy projects like the High Lonesome wind farm and the Roadrunner solar farm mark Enel Green Power’s efforts to support Texas in fully achieving its enormous potential in renewables and to further its role as leader in the US’s energy transition.
 

Sun and wind for a renewable future

Recently, Enel Green Power celebrated the start of operations in the heart of central east Texas at High Lonesome and Roadrunner, located in Upton County and Crockett County, respectively.

The High Lonesome wind farm has a capacity of around 450 MW and will add another 50 MW in the first quarter of 2020 with the help of a long-term energy supply agreement (Power Purchase Agreement - PPA) with Danone North America. So, the plant will ultimately feature a capacity of 500 MW, which will make it the largest wind farm in Enel’s global portfolio. Able to generate close to 1.7 TWh per year, it will reduce CO2 emissions by over 1.1 million tons annually.

The energy generated by part of High Lonesome’s 295 MW is covered by a long-term Proxy Revenue Swap (PRS) agreement with Nephila Climate and insurance company Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s Alternative Risk Transfer division, and is the largest renewable facility risk management agreement of its kind to have ever been signed for a single project.

Across town, the Roadrunner solar farm, with a total capacity of 497 MW upon completion of its second phase, will be the state’s largest operational solar facility and Enel Green Power’s largest solar farm in the entire US. Its 1.2 million solar panels can generate 1.2 TWh per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 800,000 tons annually.


Texan communities supported thanks to renewables

In line with our Creating Shared Value (CSV) business model, we’ve worked in synergy with the local communities.

High Lonesome and Roadrunner create employment, increased revenue and educational opportunities. We’re working closely with McCamey, a town in Upton County, which has been declared "the wind energy capital of Texas" by the state legislature due to its high concentration of wind farms.

As of today, we’ve invested a quarter of a million dollars in McCamey, supporting the town’s people and local businesses. What’s more, Roadrunner’s O&M department is going to be housed in a renovated building in downtown McCamey to help contribute to the local economy.

 

“Enel Green Power wanted to be part of our community. They wanted to know how they could help us. I went and showed them all the projects and various things we’re trying to do. They kept their word on everything they’d promised.”

– Alicia Sanchez, director of McCamey Economic Development Corporation

 

Behind the scenes of renewables

At the peak of construction, we employed over 1,300 people between High Lonesome and Roadrunner, and 115 were hired locally. At the Roadrunner project, more than 5 million dollars was spent with local suppliers. After construction, other permanent jobs will be created.

As always, safety is a priority for Enel Green Power, both for the community that hosts our renewable energy projects, as well as for our staff and contractors. Enel Green Power is going to invest 125,000 dollars to update equipment and training for McCamey’s volunteer fire fighters (near Roadrunner) and for the volunteer fire departments of Rankin, Ozona and Iraan (near High Lonesome).

We know that education and training open career doors for youth and spur economic growth. That’s why we will foster STEM and wind power awareness initiatives in the McCamey, Rankin and Crockett County school districts. These initiatives include scholarships to study renewable energy technologies at Texas State Technical College and Western Texas College. Perhaps these future wind and solar technicians will one day join the High Lonesome and Roadrunner teams.

In addition to investing in the community, granting scholarships and providing employment opportunities, we’re proud to contribute to the local economy by increasing revenue. Throughout the project, both Roadrunner and High Lonesome will generate significant property tax revenues.

Thanks to High Lonesome, Roadrunner and the 63 MW Snyder wind farm in Scurry County, Texas will benefit from reliable and affordable renewable energy while continuing its role as the leader in developing sustainable energy.

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