Wind energy leader Texas is doing more than just shooting the breeze

Opening of Enbridge’s 249-MW Chapman Ranch project adds to Lone Star State’s frontrunner status

For decades, oil has been informally known as Texas tea.

But you may not know that the Lone Star State is also capitalizing on a mighty wind.

While it produces a third of U.S. crude oil, and is home some of the largest refineries in the world, Texas is also America’s runaway leader in wind energy, with:

  • Three times the wind generating capacity of any other state;
  • A quarter of America’s estimated 100,000 wind jobs;
  • More than 20,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity, a plateau surpassed in 2016; and
  • About 25 percent of overall U.S. wind energy capacity.

“If you want to know how wind works for America,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), recently remarked, “just ask a Texan.”

Today, Enbridge pushed that total even higher with the official public opening of the Chapman Ranch Wind Project, near Corpus Christi in Nueces County. With 81 turbines, the Chapman Ranch is expected to produce 249 MW of green energy when it officially enters service in the next several weeks—providing power for more than 64,000 homes.

As it happens, Enbridge has more wind energy facilities in Texas than in any other state. Chapman Ranch joins the 110-MW Keechi Wind Project, in Jack County, and the 202-MW Magic Valley I Wind Farm, near Harligen, as one of six American, and 16 North American, onshore wind farms that contribute toward Enbridge’s gross total of 3,900-plus MW of renewable energy and power transmission projects currently in operation or under construction.

“Each turbine here at Chapman Ranch has a rated capacity of about 3 megawatts. That’s 3 million watts, or approximately 20,000 standard light bulbs per turbine,” said Willem van der Ven, Enbridge’s vice president of Power Operations, during today’s Chapman Ranch opening.

Texas’ wind energy leadership, according to the AWEA, can be attributed to an all-of-the-above energy mix. As of early 2017, the state had captured $38 billion in wind investment, which has attracted corporate energy buyers intent on placing data centers and factories close to wind farms.

“States like Texas and Iowa,” says Kiernan, “are leading the way in terms of wind turbines and wind jobs.”