Duke Energy Renewables, a commercial business unit of Duke Energy, will build and operate two large-scale wind power facilities Los Vientos III and IV in South Texas
, approximately 100 miles west of Brownsville near Rio Grande City in Starr County. Each will produce 200 megawatts of emissions-free electricity, enough to collectively power about 120,000 homes.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, with an in-service date expected in early 2015 for Los Vientos III and mid-2016 for Los Vientos IV. Duke said Austin Energy will purchase the output and associated renewable energy credits from the wind farms under two 25-year agreements.
"We are pleased to again be bringing jobs, economic development and clean, affordable electricity to Texas, where we have our largest presence," said Duke Energy Renewables President Greg Wolf. "We're also glad to be working again with Austin Energy on projects that further their commitment to investing in renewable power."
Austin Energy also purchases the power from Duke Energy Renewables' Los Vientos II Windpower Project in Willacy and Cameron Counties.
"Austin Energy has among the most aggressive renewable energy goals in the country and these two new wind projects with Duke Energy will help us meet our 35 percent renewable energy goal four years ahead of schedule," said Austin Energy General Manager Larry Weis. "They will also help push our wind portfolio to more than 1,000 MW, which is nearly a third of our total generation."
Duke Energy Renewables Vice President Milton Howard, project developer, said, "We are proud to be partnering with Austin Energy and the leaders, landowners and people of Starr County. Thanks to them, we will be able to bring jobs to the area during project construction, and once complete, Los Vientos III and IV will continue to boost economic development, support the local school districts, and be a source of dependable tax revenue for years to come."
Once in operation, the 400 MW produced by Los Vientos III and IV will bring Duke Energy's total wind-generated capacity to more than 2,000 MW. Duke said the project will firmly establish Duke Energy Renewables in the top 10 for wind production in the country.
Duke Energy's Renewable Power Projects in Texas:
Sweetwater Windpower Project, Nolan County, 283 MW (of 585 MW total)
Ocotillo Windpower Project, Howard County, 59 MW
Notrees Windpower Project, Ector & Winkler Counties, 153 MW
Blue Wing Solar Power Project, San Antonio,14 MW
Notrees Battery Storage Project, Winkler County, 36 MW
Los Vientos I Windpower Project, Willacy County, 200 MW
Los Vientos II Windpower Project, Willacy County, 202 MW