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Texas takes 100 MW of wind at Big Spring

Texas, long heralded as a potentially huge market for wind power, is in the process of adding more than 100 MW of wind plant to its generating base in two big projects, one being developed by York Research Corporation of New York at Big Spring using Vestas turbines and the other by FPL Energy using turbines from NEG Micon.

York's project boasts America's four largest wind turbines, taller than the dome of the US Capitol Building in Washington DC and now on-line and generating electricity in central Texas. The four V-66 turbines, 45 metres high from Danish company Vestas Wind Systems, started producing electricity for the utility TU Electric on April 22 as the world celebrated Earth Day. An Earth Day "name the turbine" contest organised by TU was won by fourth grader Roberto Marinez who dubbed the towering giant "Cloud Catcher."

The four turbines add 6.6 MW of installed capacity to the project, bringing the first phase of York's Big Spring wind plant to 34 MW. The plant's first two turbines, Vestas V-47 units, were dedicated in December. Since then, another 40 V-47 turbines have been installed. The number of machines at the site, about 50 miles east of the Texas oil town of Midland, has reached 46. The project's Earth Day commissioning was slightly behind schedule-the 35 MW wind farm was to have been completed in late February.

Just before Earth Day, a 700 kW NEG Micon wind turbine was displayed at the Texas state capitol building in Austin to mark the start-up of the first 19 of 107 turbines at FPL Energy's $86 million Southwest Mesa Wind Project. The 75 MW project is providing power to the utility Central and South West Services (CSW) under a 20 year contract. When completed by mid-year, near the town of McCamey some 60 miles south of Midland, it will be the Lone Star State's largest wind facility. The project is employing almost 200 people during construction, says CSW.

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