ONLY ON ABC13: A closer look at southeast Texas' 1st wind farm ahead of its ribbon cutting ceremony

Elyse Smith Image
Thursday, May 16, 2024
ABC13 brings you a closer look at southeast Texas' 1st wind farm
Behind the scenes with Fengate's Prairie Switch Wind Project at a new wind farm in Wharton County near Highway 59, the first in southeast Texas.

WHARTON COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Down Highway 59 in central Wharton County, 48 towering turbines are now spinning at the Prairie Switch Wind Project. The first of its kind will come to southeast Texas, and Only On 13 will you see behind the scenes at the site before a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week.

Greg Calhoun, the managing director at Fengate, the company behind the energy project, told ABC13 that these wind turbines were specially designed for this location, accounting for the wind, heat, cold, and thunderstorms.

Since these are the first turbines to come to our region, ABC13 Meteorologist Elyse Smith wanted to know if they could withstand the storm-force winds we face here in southeast Texas.

"So these turbines at certain wind speeds, if the wind is too strong and hurricane winds, the turbines would shut down so they wouldn't operate for safety reasons," Calhoun said. "When you cite renewable projects and power projects near the demand for electricity, it's better because you don't have to build as many transmission lines."

Furthermore, he noted the need for reliable energy resources to support the energy infrastructure in Texas, specifically Houston.

The Prairie Switch Wind Project in central Wharton County can power over 50,000 homes annually with clean, green energy. Yes, that power goes directly into the grid.

The turbines will produce 160 megawatts of power sent right into the Texas grid, bringing more than power resiliency for our communities. Fengate tells us the project created 200 jobs and has invested $12 million into the local economy.

These turbines have a lifespan of 35 to 40 years and produce more than $60 million in tax revenue.

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