E.ON completes world's largest wind farm in Texas

HOUSTON Thu Oct 1, 2009 6:00am EDT

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HOUSTON Oct 1 (Reuters) - E.ON Climate and Renewables said on Thursday it has built the world's biggest wind farm by completing the final phase of its Roscoe, Texas wind farm, bringing the installed capacity to 781.5 megawatts.

The more than $1 billion project, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) west of Fort Worth, surpasses the nearby 735.5 MW Horse Hollow wind farm, owned by FPL Group's (FPL.N) NextEra Energy Resources, as the largest in the world.

"Completing the world's biggest wind farm took more than a $1 billion investment, coordination with more than 300 landowners and management of more than 500 workers," Steve Trenholm, chief executive of German-based E.ON AG's (EONGn.DE) renewable unit in North America, said in a release.

In 2006, Texas became the leading state for wind capacity with about 2,400 MW, an amount that has expanded to 8,335 MW, according to the state grid operator.

New power lines are under development that will allow wind developers to more than double the current amount of wind in Texas over the next few years.

Unlike fossil-fueled power plants, wind farms generate no carbon dioxide -- a heat-trapping greenhouse gas blamed for global warming -- and require no water. Wind farms are helping to revive the economy in sparsely populated areas of West Texas and the Texas Panhandle.

Wind farms have been getting bigger in Texas.

The Roscoe wind farm spans parts of four Texas counties and covers nearly 100,000 acres (40,500 hectares), several times the size of Manhattan, the company said. It has 627 turbines, manufactured by units of Mitsubishi (8058.T), General Electric (GE.N) and Siemens (SIEGn.DE).

E.ON Climate operates 2,600 MW of generation worldwide, including 1,488 MW in the U.S, mostly in Texas.

It recently completed the 458-MW Panther Creek wind farm near Big Spring, Texas, and will soon finish the 180-MW Papalote Creek wind farm near Corpus Christi.

Elsewhere, the company recently began construction on Britain's big London Array offshore wind project, which will become the largest offshore wind farm in the world when finished. (Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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