AMARILLO-The Texas Panhandle has some of the world’s best winds for creating renewable energy, and the wind farm at the Pantex Plant is taking advantage of those winds, generating up to 60 percent of the energy needs of the plant in an inaugural program, mandated by the White House.
In 2013, construction on the one-of-a-kind wind farm began under a unique finance model, known as an Energy Savings Performance Contract. The five turbines, each 400 feet tall, were built on 1,500 acres of federal land adjacent to the main Pantex Plant. The Pantex Renewable Energy Project (PREP) was designed to generate more than 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is enough to power nearly 3,500 homes.
In the first 10 months of operation, the Pantex Wind Farm has produced more than 43,043,000 kWh of electricity; enough energy to satisfy approximately 63 percent of the Pantex Plant’s power needs… 3 percent more than expected. To date, more than 73,000,000 kWhs have been produced and the project is also estimated to reduce CO2 emissions by over 35,000 metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 7,200 cars from the road each year or planting 850,000 trees. The wind farm will play a key role in helping Pantex achieve President Obama’s directive that the federal government lead the way in clean energy and energy efficiency, with his administration’s goal of obtaining 20 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020.
In addition to providing electricity for Pantex operations, PREP serves as the keystone for an ongoing collaboration with Texas Tech University (TTU) to make Pantex a leader in innovation within the wind energy sector. TTU and the NNSA Production Office (NPO) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would combine resources to study the wind farm located adjacent to the Pantex plant.
Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS) operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under a single contract for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on the absolute priorities of safety, security, quality, mission delivery and cost efficiency.