Roscoe Wind Farm, United States of America
Roscoe wind farm (RWF) is the largest onshore wind farm in the world. It is situated 45 miles south-west of Abilene in Texas, USA. RWF is owned and operated by Germany-based E.ON Climate and Renewables (EC&R).
With an installed capacity of 781.5MW, RWF exceeds the capacity of the previously largest Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center (735.5MW) located in Taylor and Nolan counties southwest of Abilene.
The plant is situated in 100,000 acres of land, primarily used for cotton farming, stretching into the three counties of Mitchell, Nolan and Scurry. The site is leased from dryland cotton farmers.
Construction on the wind farm began in May 2007, and it has been operational since October 2009. The Roscoe wind complex provides the community with 70 full-time working positions.
Roscoe wind farm construction
The Roscoe wind farm project was built in four phases. Of its total installed capacity of 781.5MW, about 209MW and 126.5MW are generated in the phase I and phase II units respectively. Phase III and phase IV together generate 446MW.
Construction work was carried out by leading renewable energy developer and operator E.ON Climate and Renewables. It is the third wind farm project carried out by Airtricity in the state of Texas.
The Roscoe wind complex opened in February 2008 upon the commissioning of phase I. Phases II and III went live in March 2008 and March 2009 respectively. The operations of the first two phases began in September 2008.
Phase IV was completed in October 2009, opening for operations the same month, along with phase III.
The wind farm employs 627 turbines, supplied by Mitsubishi, Siemens AG and General Electric. From the start of the wind farm's construction, a turbine was installed at the farm every day until completion.
The turbines installed at the farm range in between 350ft and 415ft tall, and stand 900ft apart. Out of the total number of turbines employed, 209 were the Mitsubishi 1000A model, with a rated output of 1.0MW.
The power generated by the wind farm under phase I will be supplied to TXU Corporation's subsidiary TXU Wholesale, under a five-year sales contract. The entire complex is capable of supplying power to 265,000 homes, while the power generated in its first two phases was distributed to 100,000 homes.
Approximately 375,000t of greenhouse gas emissions will be saved each year though the use of the wind farm, when compared with plants that generate fossil fuels.
The first phase of the project involved an investment of $300m. Approximately $1bn was invested in all four phases in total.
GE Energy Financial Services invested 50% of the structured equity in the 209MW first phase, along with a subsidiary of Wachovia Corporation. The Roscoe wind farm is the second project that was carried out jointly by E.ON Climate and Renewables and GE Energy Financial Services in West Texas. The remaining 50% of the equity is held by E.ON Climate and Renewables.
The Texas power market
Texas has an installed capacity of 7,907MW in wind power generation. It is the leading state in the US in renewable energy development, having the highest wind generation capacity in the country.
The American Wind Energy Association stated that about 2,800MW of new generating capacity had been installed in the US during the first quarter of 2009.
E.ON Climate & Renewables operates six wind farms in the US, five of which are in Texas. RWF hopes to accomplish an additional power generation of 5,000MW from renewable sources in Texas by 2015.