Texas is the country’s largest oil producer, lignite coal producer, and most significant natural gas producer. At the same time, it was the largest wind energy producer in the country and retired a record 4.2 gigawatts of coal capacity in 2018. Texas has its internal market for competitive power; the Texas Electric Reliability Council, or ERCOT, which provides approximately 90 percent of the power of the state. All these factors have invited companies to Texas for its brave effort. For instance, Enel Green Power North America (EGPNA), a subsidiary of Italian gas and electricity distributor Enel, has started construction works for its largest wind farm, the 450MW High Lonesome facility in Upton and Crockett Counties, Texas.
Enel’s investment should not come as a surprise; Texas has attracted investments because of the culmination of strategic policy decisions, a favorable transmission backdrop, and a natural abundance of wind resources.
In the year 2016, a total capital investment of $38 billion was made solely in Texas. In addition to investment, 23,000 total jobs were created in the state alone. At the backdrop of all this, wind energy supports the state’s thriving manufacturing sector, providing land lease payments to property owners and contributing to low residential and industrial power rates.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas employs 1,440 wind turbine service technicians. Texas is home to 41 manufacturing facilities that contribute to the wind energy supply chain. It ranked second in the nation for the number of facilities that manufacture components for wind turbines. These factors also contribute to the investment by Enel. The company’s overall investment is around $600 million, and the project is a part of the investment outlined in Enel’s strategic plan for 2019-2021. This will be the largest wind farm once completed in Enel’s global renewable energy portfolio, and the wind farm will generate around 1.7TWh of clean energy annually. Additionally, it will avoid emissions of more than 1.1 million tons of carbon per year. Enel’s bold move is the first in the company’s history which also reflects its growing confidence in the U.S.