Billionaire Pickens Building Downsized Wind Farm

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens is constructing a 377-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Texas.

Mesa Power Group, the renewable energy company Pickens created in 2007, is co-developing the wind farm with Wind Tex Energy.

wind

image via Shutterstock

The announcement comes three years after Mesa shelved plans for a project about 10 times as big that would have been the world’s largest wind farm.

The Stephens Bor-Lynn Wind Project, sited about 50 miles south of Lubbock in Borden and Lynn counties, is planned to begin commercial operations in 2013.

Mesa announced plans for the 4-gigawatt Pampa wind farm in the Texas panhandle in 2007. Two years later, it put the project on hold citing a lack of adequate power lines. The downsized project will use 233 1.6-MW General Electric (GE) wind turbines purchased for the earlier Pampa plan.

At the end of last year, Texas had about 10.3 GW of wind installations but this could expand to 18 GW once a $6.8 billion transmission expansion program is completed in 2014. According to the American Wind Energy Association [PDF], this makes the state the highest producer of wind energy in the U.S. In fact, if Texas were a country, it would rank sixth in the world for total wind capacity.

In 2007, Pickens created Mesa to develop and finance renewable energy power projects. The Dallas-based company is involved with wind, waste-to-energy and natural gas projects. It is currently developing wind projects in Minnesota, Canada and Texas that total more than 1,000 MW of power.

Pickens, who chairs the hedge fund BP Capital Management, has an estimated current net worth of about $1.4 billion. Despite investing heavily in wind energy in recent years he has recently become a strong advocate for natural gas.

Dallas-based Wind Tex Energy is a privately held independent wind power firm specializing in U.S. domestic wind power projects.  It has four Texas projects in operation, together comprising more than 6 percent of the total Texas wind energy output.

Paul Willis has been journalist for a decade. Starting out in Northern England, from where he hails, he worked as a reporter on regional papers before graduating to the cut-throat world of London print media. On the way he spent a year as a correspondent in East Africa, writing about election fraud, drought and an Ethiopian version of American Idol. Since moving to America three years ago he has worked as a freelancer, working for CNN.com and major newspapers in Britain, Australia and North America. He writes on subjects as diverse as travel, media ethics and human evolution. He lives in New York where, in spite of the car fumes and the sometimes eccentric driving habits of the yellow cabs, he rides his bike everywhere.

    • Luke

      Great news! 4GW would’ve been truly massive…