As first reported by Renewablesnow.com, Oklahoma will soon be home to the largest wind-solar hybrid energy generation complex in the United States. The Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC) will be off-taking the power generated and NextEra Energy Resources LLC. will be responsible for construction and operation. An announcement made last week by a WFEC spokesperson detailed the specifics of the project which will ensure that its power generation portfolio will include 50% solar, wind, and hydropower capacity.
Gary Roulet, Chief Executive Officer for WFEC said in a statement: “At Western Farmers, we are always looking for ways to better serve our customers with reliable, low-cost and environmentally-friendly energy. With the price of wind and solar energy lower than ever, we are now able to pair it with battery storage to make more affordable, renewable energy available to customers for more hours of the day — even when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.”
The complex will be installed in two locations within the state. The first will be a 250 MW wind farm that will be online by the end of 2019. The second will be a photovoltaic (PV) park capable of generating up to 250 MW of electricity which will become operational by the end of 2023. When completed, the complex will be the first of its kind in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the electrical grid that services 14 states in the southwest including Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
John Ketchum, President and CEO of NextEra Energy Resources was quoted as saying, “With this combined facility, we can optimize and maximize the amount of low-cost, emissions-free electricity we provide, while helping Western Farmers diversify its power generation portfolio, reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and set a great example for others to follow.”
We recently reported on Scotland’s success in generating energy from wind power. Like Scotland, Western Oklahoma’s location makes it ideal for fairly consistent power generation from wind. Located in the United States Wind Corridor, which encompasses an area stretching from Canada to Western Texas, Oklahoma alone has the potential to generate over 1,500,000 GWh of energy per year. That’s over one third of all U.S. electricity needs! Oklahoma’s functional wind generation capacity is currently around 7,500 MW, supplying about a third of the state’s energy needs. Wind power generation provides almost 2,000 full time jobs to Oklahoma residents.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, there are over 56,000 wind turbines currently providing electricity to users in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam. These turbines generate nearly 100,000 MW of electricity to end users. The amount of electricity generated by wind power has tripled since 2010, and wind is now the number one power generation renewable in the United States. With more and more wind power projects being announced almost daily, the future of wind power looks bright.
What do our readers think? Will governments and private companies continue to invest in wind power technology? Is wind power the future or will solar eventually overtake it as the number one renewable in the United States? Please leave us a comment and let us know what you think.
Source | Image: Wikimedia Commons