La Chalupa is a 198MW wind farm being developed in Texas, US. The wind farm is named after the canoe found on cards used in the traditional Mexican game Loteria.
It will produce more than 650GWh of electricity a year, powering 62,500 homes and offsetting 420,000t of CO2 emissions.
Being developed by Acciona, the La Chalupa project will be the biggest wind farm in the company’s North American portfolio. It is the company’s tenth wind project in the country and will increase its overall wind power capacity in the US to more than 1GW.
The development follows the commencement of operations of Acciona’s 145MW Palmas Altas wind farm in the region.
Construction of the La Chalupa wind farm began in the third quarter (Q3) of 2019, while the process of energising the wind turbines began in December 2020.
The project created 300 jobs during the construction phase. The company will employ 19 full-time staff for the operations and maintenance (O&M) of La Chalupa and Palmas Altas wind farms together.
The wind farm is located on 4,046ha of land in the city of Rio Hondo within Cameron County, Texas. Its layout was optimised to preserve irrigated farming land uses.
The site includes more than 100 leases and easements with more than 300 individuals as part of a real estate programme.
La Chalupa wind farm comprises 63 Nordex AWP 3150 wind turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 125m and mounted on steel towers having a hub height of 87.5m.
The turbines are similar to the ones installed at Palmas Altas and operate at a cut-in wind speed of 3.5m/s and cut-out wind speed of 25m/s. The blades have a structural shell design, incorporating proven materials such as glass fibre and epoxy resin.
With a swept area of 12,305m², the rotor has an operating range rotational speed from 7.3rpm to 14.7rpm, and a tip speed of 86.5m/s.
The project also included the construction of a temporary meteorological tower without any impact to wetlands.
The electricity from the wind farm in Texas will be transmitted to American Electric Power’s (AEP) 138kV interconnect via a proposed 17km high-voltage line. It will be distributed to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)-South Texas wholesale market.
The transmission equipment will include aluminium conductor steel supported (ACSS) conductor of 795 size, optical ground wire (OPGW) fibre, and all dielectric cable (ADSS).
Acciona’s wind energy portfolio in the US includes three wind projects in Oklahoma (totalling 329MW), two in the Dakotas (192MW), and one each in Illinois (101MW) and Iowa (6MW).
La Chalupa is its third project in Cameron County, with the 93MW San Roman wind farm that commenced operations in 2016 being the first one. The Palmas Atlas wind farm, which came online in 2019, was the second project.
Together with Palmas Atlas, La Chalupa will generate 1,100GWh of electricity a year, enough to power 97,000 households in Texas.
The company also owns a portfolio of several photovoltaic solar projects with a combined generating capacity of 3,000MW, along with a 64MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Nevada.
Nordex was awarded a contract to supply turbines for the project. Cielo provided development services for the project, while Tradelossa transported the towers from Mexico to Texas.
Sentry Electrical was contracted to perform the transmission lines installation.
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