Wind Turbines Turned Off in Texas
High Plains, TX boasts a lot of wind farms that can produce cheap and sustainable electricity. However, the lack of transmission lines makes this power production powerless. Without a connection to the Texas power grid, High Plains wind farms must turn off their wind turbines. What does this mean for West Texas energy production? And more importantly, for electricity rates in Texas?
The Power Wind Farms Generate
The High Plains wind farms are home to more than 11,000 wind turbines in West Texas. With each having 2-3 MW capacity, together these can produce 66 billion kWh of electricity, which could supply at least 9 million homes in Texas.
However, all this electricity produced in High Plains stays there too. Without transmission lines connecting wind farms to the Texas power grid, distributing this cheap electricity becomes impossible.
The current transmission lines in High Plains were built as part of the CREZ project. Completed in 2013, these lines transmit 18.5 MW of electricity, stretching for 465 miles as 345kV transmission lines. However, these lines are no longer enough to handle the output from High Plains wind turbines. This is why the West Texas power grid needs an infrastructural upgrade.
The Cost of New Transmission Lines
To give you an idea, in 2008, a Texas consortium of six companies filed a proposal of $4.93B to build 24,000 miles of transmission lines. So, it’s safe to say that this same investment in 2022 would costs hundreds of millions — if not billions of dollars– more.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas is still examining the exact economic benefits of installing these transmission lines. So, there are no official plans to expand them as of now.
Cheaper Electricity From Wind Power?
While the cost to install these transmission lines would be significant, there are clear benefits to it. For one, the high energy production in High Plains could provide stability when there’s a high demand for power. And transmitting cheap green energy to further parts of Texas could lower the electric bills of millions of households.
With the high energy demand and the rising cost of electricity, this would be a very welcome change. Plus, the need for more sustainable energy sources could also benefit the environment.
Shop for Cheap Electricity
You don’t have to wait for High Plains wind farms to connect to the Texas power grid to get cheaper electricity. You can find competitive plans on https://www.texaselectricityratings.com. Compare the rates and choose the best one for your household.