Hold On To Your Hat–Is Texas #1 In Wind Power?
You don't have to drive far from San Angelo to see all those wind turbines dotting the horizon. It is hard to watch them when driving. I always find myself getting hypnotized.
It seems ironic that there are so many wind turbines in a state known for being #1 in producing fossil fuels. Here in West Texas, we are home to several large wind farms. In fact, up until last year, the largest onshore wind farm in the world was just an hour and twenty minutes drive up US 87 north from San Angelo.
The Roscoe Wind Farm in Nolan County is one of the largest onshore wind farms. The biggest wind farm in the world is now the Gansu Wind Farm in China. In fact, China has the top 3. However, out of the top 10 largest wind farms in the world, Texas has 3, including the Roscoe Windfarm at #6
All these turbines mean that Texas is #1 in wind energy production of all US states. Texas has an installed capacity of 37,422 megawatts. That's more than #2 Iowa, #3 Oklahoma, and #4 Kansas combined.
It is important to note that the installed capacity of wind power does not necessarily translate to the actual amount of electricity generated. Since wind turbines in Texas operate at an average capacity factor of 40%, the actual capacity of electricity generated is our capacity at 37,422 megawatts translates to enough electricity to power 12,213 American homes for a year.
The area around San Angelo could see more wind turbines. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's wind resource maps, the area around San Angelo has an average annual wind speed of 6.5-7.5 meters per second at a height of 80 meters. Anything about 6 m/x is considered very good.
The initial costs of these giant turbines have limited wind farm development and cost efficiency, but new technology is improving this. The future for wind power generation should be bright. Don't be surprised if you start to see wind turbines on the horizon from San Angelo.