Amazon Sets Its Sights On West Texas Wind Farm

20160418121933-amazonThe Seattle-based Amazon is ready to invest in a massive wind farm in West Texas as part of its biggest renewable energy project to date. The major online retailer’s latest venture into energy will produce roughly a million megawatt hours each year, enough power to support 90,000 homes. With the new farm, the company will see a jump of more than 60 percent in the generation capacity of its previously-announced energy projects.

In a team effort with the Chicago-based Lincoln Clean Energy, Amazon will construct the 253-megawatt wind farm in Scurry County, located to the west of Abilene. Just one megawatt is enough to provide power to 200 Texas homes.

The farm is scheduled to open by the end of next year and will house over 100 wind turbines intended to power up Amazon’s Texas facilities and more with the electricity from the farm feeding into Texas’ overall grid.

In an announcement, Amazon’s director of sustainability, Kara Hurst said, “Amazon Wind Farm Texas is our largest renewable energy project to date and the newest milestone in our long-term sustainability efforts across the company.”

Amazon continues to grow in Texas. In 2015, the retail giant opened their “Silicon Hills” corporate center in Austin. Amazon also leased out a massive amount of office space in the Dallas Galleria complex in 2014. The company also owns Dallas warehouses they call fulfillment centers which are located in Coppell and Haslet. A large Amazon customer service facility and warehouse can also be found in Schertz, Texas just outside of San Antonio.

At the beginning of this summer, Amazon announced that they would open an 855,000-square foot warehouse at the Pinto Business Park near Beltway 8 and I-45. The warehouse, which would function as a distribution center, is currently in development. The Amazon fulfillment center hopes to hire 1,000 people in addition to Humble’s new Amazon Prime Now warehouse center.

20 Amazon “Pop Up” electronic stores have also started sprouting across the nation, including one in Arlington, Texas and one in San Antonio.

The projected costs for the wind farm project have yet to be released, but Declan Flanagan, Lincoln CEO, has been quoted as saying that the average cost of a 200-megawatt wind farm in Texas lingers around $300 million.

Previously, Amazon had announced other, smaller wind and solar farms in Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. Still, Texas remains the nation’s leader in wind power.

Other big-name companies have purchased wind farms in Texas including Dow Chemical, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, General Motors, Procter & Gamble, and Wal-Mart. Even Ikea owns a wind farm on Texas land.

According to their agreement, Amazon will contract to purchase 90 percent of the power generated by the farm, but Lincoln Clean Energy will be responsible for its construction. Lincoln will also have ownership over the farm itself.

Lincoln already owns offices in Austin, but it planning other wind projects in the State of Texas, too. Two 200-megawatt wind farms are currently in development: Electra Wind which is near Wichita Falls and Horse Creek Wind, north of Abilene. Lincoln’s other project, the 201-megawatt Nazareth Solar project in the panhandle, continues to face delays.

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