WIND TURBINES IN TEXAS
County Wind FarmsPhotos
& Travel Notes by Gerald Massey
is famous for its cowboy landscape: West
Texas, The Panhandle, and
South Texas. There is now appearing
on the western landscapes a new version of a centuries old machine, The Windmill.
Windmill is nothing new to Texas.
But, there is a new breed of windmill - the Wind Turbine. |
is most interesting to see the old classic windmill present with the new Wind
Massey, June 2010
|The idea of using
wind for energy has existed since ancient times. It is not sure when the use of
the windmill came about. One thought is the Crusades brought the idea to Europe
from Persia. Another idea is that the Europeans developed it independently. Evidence
of windmills in England dates from the 12th century. Windmills are said to have
existed in Holland from about 1200.|
Recently I made a trip from my home
in Shreveport, Louisiana for the primary purpose of viewing the fantastic Ft Griffin
Fandangle outdoor musical at Albany, Texas.
I elected to stay in Abilene
only thirty miles, in one of the new type of Inn, an extended stay Inn where for
a nice reduced price I stayed there for a week in a kitchenette room. While I
was at Abilene I pursued my hobby
of photography. My primary subject is churches but, I also photograph other subjects,
including towns. This led me to tour much of the area all around Abilene
up to 100-miles away. In doing this I got to see and also photograph these wind
turbines and wind farms.
| It was quite impressive
when I came upon The FPL Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, the World’s Largest
Wind Farm located on highway US-277 about 20-miles south of Abilene.
This wind farm has 421 wind turbines spreading across 47,000 acres of land in
Taylor and Nolan County, Texas, with 291 GE Energy 1.5 megawatt wind turbines
and 130 Siemens 2.3 megawatt wind turbines generating a total capacity of 735
"There was one
turbine tower very close to the highway behind a gate at the end of a very short
- Gerald Massey,
|As I went to the Fandangle
at Albany I had to drive through a Wind
Farm on the way. It was interesting seeing it in daylight. The Fandangle lasted
until 11 PM. Driving back through this wind farm at night, the moon was out quite
bright enabling me to see the wind farm bathed in bright moon light. The towers
were so tall they had to have flashing red lights on them mainly for aircraft
safety I would guess. The entire farm red lights all flashed on and off at exactly
the same time. It was quite a sight to see. |
|Four days later I
was in the Seymour area, about 80-miles
north of Abilene. As I traveled
north out of Seymour on highway
US-82 there was an eighteen wheeler broke down on the side of the road two miles
from Seymour. This eighteen wheeler
was hauling a wind turbine fan blade. The trailer was specially equipped to haul
one of these long enormous objects. It extended out a longer distance than the
average trailer, and was equipped with special wheeled dolly at the end, and a
special rack to hold the blade. Even with this special long trailer the blade
still extended way out past the end of the trailer. This configuration made this
an oversized load that required a special escort vehicle. The end of the blade
that would fasten to a hub was at the truck cab end of the trailer. It stood above
the truck cab dwarfing it. It had many huge bolts sticking out of it for assembly
purposes. There also appeared to be some sort of fabric covering over the entire
end of the blade. The size of the components of the wind turbine not including
the tower it sits on is most awesome and really can’t be comprehended until up
beside them. |
I used to work for the Kansas City Southern Railroad, and
am now retired. When I went back for a visit at my old work place I shared some
of this with my fellow employees. They stated how that they see these blades being
hauled on railroad cars, one blade to a car because they are so long and huge.
|The next day I was
traveling north and came to another wind farm on Ranch Road 608 about three miles
north of Roscoe. There was
an operating wind turbine very close to the highway. I drove over to it via the
gravel access road. I got pictures of it from maybe 15-20 feet. |
diameter of the tower was larger than my car, maybe twenty feet in diameter. There
were these huge bolts all around the base maybe less than a foot apart holding
the tower in place." - Gerald
|While at this spot
I noticed a tower that was being constructed with a large installation crane in
place towering over the naked installed tower. I drove over to it. All the turbine
towers have access roads to them. The new construction was very close to the road
but behind a fence with a locked gate with no construction taking place. Fortunatedly
my camera had a very good zoom lens which allowed me to see and photograph the
|The sight through
the viewfinder on the camera was quite awesome. There was the huge crawler crane.
I could see that it had a large quantity of huge counter balance weights on it.
The treads on it were enormous. It rested on special wood flooring that rested
on special graveled underlayment to make sure the ground would hold it up. I am
very curious to know what the reach was on the boom. I would make a guess of maybe
300-feet. I could see the name and model on it. The name was Libeherr and Model
LR 1300. There was a very large boom truck sitting beside it with a huge boom
on it. It was dwarfed by the huge crawler crane. There was the fan laying next
to the boom truck with some of the blades attached to it’s “nose” piece. This
nose piece seemed to be larger than the boom truck itself. There were sling cables
attached to the assembled fan blade as if the next step at the next work day would
be to lift the fan blade assembly into place on top of the tower. That would have
been a most interesting sight to see.
There is a Roscoe
Wind Farm located about 45-miles southwest of Abilene,
which is scheduled for completion by the end of the year. It will annually produce
enough energy to power 60,000 homes and save approximately 375,000 tons per year
in greenhouse gas emissions, The project will help Texas
meet its renewable energy goal of 5,000 new megawatts of its power from renewable
sources by 2015. In 2006, Texas became the Nation’s
leader in installed wind capacity.
America has some of the windiest sites in the world. There's no indication we'll
be running out of wind anytime soon. However, there aren't a lot of sites with
enough wind to support a large scale wind farm
takes about six months for a turbine to recover the energy required to build and
According to the industry, over 16,800 MW of wind power capacity
was installed in the U. S. as of January 2008. This has generated (annually) over
51 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity - enough to power over five million homes.
It is believed that by 2015, the number of turbines will increase threefold.
biggest problem on the horizon for wind energy is the installation of transmission
lines, the network of electrical connectors that will actually bring the electricity
from the turbines to the areas most in need (the east and west coasts).
the cost of manufacture and installation has been arranged, it's not clear who
will pay the tremendous cost of installing the connecting infrastructure.
Texas Wind Festival
October 16th, 2010
The 4th annual West Texas Wind
Festival will be held in Roscoe,
Texas. Last year's festival featured a number of amazing events including
helicoptor rides over the Roscoe Wind Farm.