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Texas: Field of Dreams for Wind



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The world’s largest user and fastest-growing user of energy are teaming up to build a “massive” wind farm in West Texas:

A consortium of Chinese and American companies announced a joint venture today to construct a massive 600-megawatt wind farm in West Texas, utilizing wind turbines manufactured in China.

Construction of the $1.5 billion wind farm would be funded largely by Chinese financiers, with an assist from the United States government in the form of loan guarantees and grants from the federal stimulus package.

“This wind farm project came about thanks to the openness of the United States for investments in the field of renewable energy,” said John Lin, the chief operating officer of Shenyang Power Group, an industrial group in China focused on renewable energy projects.

The wind farm, to be built on 36,000 acres in West Texas, will use 240 2.5 megawatt turbines manufactured in China. Construction is expected to begin in March 2010. The project is expected to create 300 temporary construction jobs, and roughly 30 permanent jobs.

So, to recap: $1.5 billion of Chinese-built windmills are going to go up in West Texas, thanks in no small part to “an assist from the United States government in the form of loan guarantees and grants from the federal stimulus package. . . .  ‘This wind farm project came about thanks to the openness of the United States for investments in the field of renewable energy.’” Translation: Were it not for your hefty government handouts, we wouldn’t be doing this. For all you baseball fans out there, translation: If you subsidize it, they will come.   Granted, simply building more and more and more windmills (and solar panels) won’t make them cost efficient – because you still have to deal with wind’s intermittency and volatility, a current lack of commercial-scale electricity storage, and an electric grid not built for the large-scale addition of remote renewable energies — but at least the $1.5 billion dollars will create “roughly thirty” jobs.

That’s right: 30 . . . -ish. If that isn’t a bang for your taxpayer buck, I don’t know what is.



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