Texas Wind Powered Highway Rest Stops

May 5, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] Two Texas highway rest stops now feature wind turbines. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) paid for the installations as part of its regular rest stop rebuilding program. The Alternative Energy Institute (AEI) installed the turbines and will operate them for two years. AEI will also train TxDOT personnel to evaluate problems, monitor turbine performance, and perform simple repairs and after two years, TxDOT will be responsible for the turbines. One turbine is at a rest stop on I-40, 60 miles east of Amarillo in Gray County. The 50 kW Atlantic Orient Corp. turbine is on an 80-foot tower about 1000 feet from the rest area. The second turbine is at a remote rest area in Pine Springs, about 120 miles east of El Paso and near Guadalupe Mountains National Park. That 10 kW Bergey turbine is also on an 80-foot tower. AEI sized both systems so that all the power will be used on site (i.e. the typical loads are much higher than the turbine output). Thus the full economic benefit will occur over time as TxDOT buys less power from the utility and gets full retail value for every kilowatt-hour made. Each of the rest areas incorporates an extensive wind energy educational display. There are large wind farms in the vicinity of each area and the displays highlight those in addition to wind history and the different small wind technology used at each rest area.
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