TXU Electric & Gas, a subsidiary of TXU Corp., and American Electric Power Inc. will build a 130 Mw wind power project for about $143 million near Abilene, Tex., the companies reported Tuesday.
AEP will develop, own, operate, and maintain the project and will also be involved in the project’s construction. TXU Electric & Gas will buy power produced by the Trent Mesa project in West Texas for at least 10 years. AEP plans to begin construction of the 87 wind turbines in November, said Ward Marshall, project development manager. Completion is expected by August 2001. AEP expects more than 515 million kw-hr of electricity will be generated annually at the site, enough to supply about 30,000 homes for TXU Electric & Gas customers. The Trent Mesa project is the fourth major wind power agreement reached by TXU Electric & Gas. Including this agreement, TXU Electric & Gas has contracted to purchase more than 1.3 billion kw-hr of renewable energy annually from several wind farms in West Texas. TXU Electric & Gas projects it will have enough wind capacity from these agreements to fuel approximately 75,000 homes. “Under the Texas deregulation law, this places TXU Electric & Gas at almost twice the amount of renewable energy initially required under the new state of Texas legislative mandates, said Steve Philley, formerly vice-president of TXU Electric Energy Supply and is now chief executive of TXU Australia. Marshall said research on wind and solar projects began in 1993 by Central and Southwest, prior to its purchase by AEP. The utility invested nearly $10 million on wind and solar research, including hiring a meteorologist to scout for potential wind power sites, he said, and ultimately chose the mesa outside Abilene.