Enough green energy to power a small Texan city

Enbridge's Keechi Wind Project supplies electricity needs of about 45,000 in the Lone Star State

In places like Jack County, Texas, the answer wasn’t always blowing in the wind.

But thanks to advances in technology, it is now.

The $200-million Keechi Wind Project, Enbridge’s latest renewable energy facility, came online near the end of January, with 55 turbines, 110 megawatts (MW) of production, and enough green energy to supply the electricity needs of about 45,000 homes in the Lone Star State.

In recent weeks, we invited media outlets from the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a tour of the 15,000-acre facility, about five miles south of Jacksboro.

Mitch Kerley, site supervisor at the Keechi Wind Project, told reporters that areas like Jack County wouldn’t have originally been considered fertile ground for wind farms a decade ago, but technology has made leaps and bounds in recent years – and made Keechi a viable venue.

“As the technology evolved and the equipment got better, we were able to build bigger nacelles (turbine housings) with rotors and longer blades that can actually catch those lower wind speeds,” Kerley told the Wichita Falls, Texas, Times Record News.

With 14 wind farms, four solar energy operations, and a geothermal project, Enbridge has invested more than $4-billion in renewable and alternative energy projects that, together, have the capacity to generate a gross total of more than 2,200 MW in zero-emission energy.

At Keechi, “the turbines will rotate up to 180 degrees to catch the wind . . . and get more production as the wind shows down or speeds up,” Kerley told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The Keechi project will deliver 100 per cent of the electricity generated into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc., market under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Microsoft Corporation.

“This is a long-term project in Jack County,” said Kerley.