NextEra Energy to develop Hale Community wind project
NextEra Energy, the largest wind and solar renewable-energy power company in North America, will be development partner for the Hale Community Wind Energy project that encompasses 122,312 leased acres with more than 350 landowners in the eastern half of Hale County.
That’s the long-awaited news that Tom Carbone, president of project developer Tri Global Energy has been sharing in a series of landowner meetings.
“This project has drawn both state and national attention because of its size,” Carbone explained at a landowners’ meeting in August at the Museum of the Llano Estacado on the Wayland Baptist University campus.
“It’s the largest community sponsored wind farm development in the world, and when operating will be one of the largest wind energy projects in America,” added Mike Price, one of the local project managers. “And we are fortunate to have NextEra Energy onboard since they have the expertise and experience to make it happen. They are ready to build this project.”
Actual construction should begin in February or March, according to Price and Carbone, with the first turbines in operation by next summer. Phase I of the project is expected to be completed by Thanksgiving 2016.
Construction on the project actually started last December with excavation of four foundations, so that Hale Community Energy would qualify for appropriate federal tax credits. Since then, project managers and Tri Global representatives have been busy securing tax abatements from Hale County and Plainview, Petersburg, Abernathy and Hale Center school districts, the last of which have now received state approval. They also have finished compiling wind and environmental data.