800 Mega Watt wind farm coming to Texas Panhandle

Aerial view of a new wind farm that will provide economic development opportunities in Moore and Hartley Counties (Drew Powell ABC 7 News)

A company called APEX Clean Energy out of Virginia is investing $1.6 billion into a new 800 megawatt wind farm in the Texas Panhandle. The selected site is in the southwest power pool on land in Moore and Hartley Counties. Plans are to have the wind farm broken into four separate wind farms with different owners helping to create new jobs.

“A 200 megawatt wind farm will have about 25 people working at them,” said David Swinford, project & land negotiator. “They bring in a hefty tax base but not very many people. You can’t get better economic development than this out in the rural communities but this is something that fits us to the tee.”

The project started as an idea in 2012. It received approval to place megawatts on the CREZ Lines for transportation of power across the state. Both Hartley and Moore Counties along with the Independent School Districts in each county are expected to benefit in multiple ways.

“Anytime you can help a school district its helps the whole county,” said Rowdy Rhoades, Moore County Judge. “Your budget is set at a certain amount and if you have a corporation that comes in paying quite a bit of taxes it offsets what people will be paying on their personal property tax.”

Swinford tells ABC 7 News the investment encountered a delay of more than eight months. APEX Clean Energy had to convince the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the new wind turbines which can reach up to 722 feet will not interfere with planes taking off or landing at the Moore County Airport. A year later Swinford tells ABC 7 News the project is greenlighted and construction is the next phase of the project.

“They’ll be building roads and they’ll be plodding where the wind turbines will actually go,” said Swinford. “They’ll be doing underground lines between those turbines. A lot of it is underground work. They have these foundations for these turbines that will take about 50 loads of concrete.”

Swinford tells ABC 7 News the wind farm will come into commercial production by mid-summer of 2020.

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