Wind farm coming to Texas nuclear weapons plant

August 13, 2013 1:02:32 PM PDT
America's only plant for disassembling and assembling nuclear weapons on Tuesday became a construction site for what will soon be home to the largest federally owned wind farm.

Ground was broken for a wind farm that will have five turbines located on 1,500 acres east of the Pantex Plant, about 18 miles northeast of Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle. The project is expected to be completed by July 2014.

A news release from the plant says the turbines will generate about 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or enough to power nearly 3,500 homes and supply more than 60 percent of the plant's annual electricity needs. The wind farm will help the plant achieve President Barack Obama's directive that the federal government get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said in the release that the federal government is the nation's largest energy user.

"Responsible development of America's wind energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the Pantex wind project furthers our commitment to lead by example and to advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy future," he said.

The project will reduce carbon emissions by over 35,000 metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 7,200 cars off roadways, according to the release.

Texas leads the U.S. in wind energy production and has the fastest growing market. At the end of 2012, Texas had 12,214 megawatts of total wind capacity installed, which is more than twice as much wind power capacity as the next highest state and more wind capacity than all but five countries worldwide, the release states.

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