A family owned Texas wind development company and a New York community wind developer have completed their portion of work on a 51-MW wind-power project in Windthorst, Texas. OwnEnergy Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y. (ownenergy.net) and Horn Wind (hornwind.com) located outside of Dallas, developed the project as a joint venture and have subsequently sold a majority stake to a global renewable energy company. The next step in the project is to secure a power purchase agreement so the electricity it produces can be sold to area utilities.
“Horn Wind managed the early stages of the development, such as locating the site and its assessment, while
OwnEnergy worked on later stage development tasks such as environmental and wind-resource assessments, major equipment BOP services procurement, and financing,” says OwnEnergy’s VP of Development, Cynthia Crooks. Although the two development firms sold their interest in Windthorst-1 when credit markets tightened, they will work together on a second wind project, Windthorst-2, and look forward to a longer involvement, all the way to wind turbine construction.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned on this project, it’s that developers should not overlook good wind areas close to population centers. Texas’ best wind areas are in the west and central parts of the state, some distance away. But there are still good areas, like Windthorst-1, close to those who need the power.”
She says the project was developed in keeping with the central tenets of community wind. “That is, increased local jobs, greater involvement, and control and financial upside for members of the community. This commitment was maintained through the sale of the asset as OwnEnergy and Horn Wind retain a long-term interest in the project.”
Crooks says her company encourages the shift towards smaller-scale, locally-owned renewable energy projects by making use of resources, networks, and industry expertise to guide and support local entrepreneurs through the complex process of project development. By forming long-term partnerships with landowners and local developers to jointly develop commercial-scale wind projects, the company creates local jobs, spurs economic growth, and provides communities with clean, renewable sources of energy they can call their own. OwnEnergy usually develops utility-scale wind projects of 10 to 80 MW for commercial purposes and using utility scale wind turbines, 1.5 MW and above. OwnEnergy and partners have 26 projects under development across 12 states.
“This is the first of five regional wind projects we’re developing,” says Horn Wind President Jimmy Horn. “Moving this project to the next stage lets the company continue to grow and support our local landowners and communities.”
The Windthorst-1 project, just outside of Greater Dallas, is in the ERCOT (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, a grid operator for most of the state) North Zone. ERCOT manages electric power to 22 million Texas customers, about 85% of the state’s electric load and 75% of the Texas land area. It is an independent system operator that schedules power on an electric grid connecting 40,000 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. WPE