Checking In: Texas Wind Farms In The Path Of Harvey
As Tropical Storm Harvey continues to devastate parts of coastal Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and operators of wind farms in the vicinity of the storm are reporting what they know so far regarding damage.
In an update issued on Sunday, ERCOT said conditions had “remained steady” over the previous 24 hours. However, the independent system operator was reporting “widespread transmission outages,” particularly near Victoria and Corpus Christi. ERCOT manages the power flow to 24 million customers in Texas; that represents roughly 90% of the state’s entire load.
“While power to some areas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey Friday night have been restored, new outages are likely over the next several days as the tropical storm affects other parts of the ERCOT region, including the Houston area,” ERCOT said in a release, adding that it “continues to work with transmission and generation owners to protect the overall reliability of the grid.”
For Pattern Energy, its Gulf Wind project is situated right on the Gulf Coast in Kenedy County. Luckily, John Martinez, the director of operations, has shared that the 283 MW project “operated through the storm and did not sustain any damage.”
Also in Kenedy County is Avangrid Renewables’ Peñascal wind facility, comprising two projects totaling 403.2 MW of power. According to Paul Copleman, communications manager for Avangrid, the company evacuated all 39 workers from the wind complex before noon on Thursday. Then, Avangrid remotely operated the project from its National Control Center in Oregon – but only until wind speeds topped 55 mph.
Copleman says Avangrid then shut down the project when Harvey emerged onshore; however, operations started back up on late Saturday morning.
“We are not at full capacity, but are working toward that goal as soon as plant personnel are able to secure their families and residences and then get back on-site,” he adds. “The safety of our personnel remains the primary focus. We remain cautious given the changing conditions and the anticipated record flooding in the region.”