Enel announces three major Texas renewable energy projects, including its largest US solar farm – Houston Chronicle

Enel Green Power said Wednesday that it plans to build its largest solar farm in North America just southeast of Waco, another solar project in Grimes County, northwest of Houston, and a wind project near Abilene.

The Italian renewable energy company projects the three projects would have the combined capacity to generate nearly 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 240,000 Texas homes on a hot summer day. The new projects would boost Enel’s generating capacity in Texas to about 2,000 megawatts, or enough for power about 400,000 homes in Texas.

Georgios Papadimitriou, head of Enel Green Power in the United States and Canada, said the projects reflect the company’s focus on Texas, which is the nation’s largest producer of wind energy and home to a fast-growing solar sector. Enel, one of the largest renewable energy companies in the world, made its initial U.S. investments in the Midwest about 15 years ago, but has targeted Texas since 2018.

“Texas has been, and we think it will definitely continue to be, one of the most business-friendly states,” Papadimitriou said. “It’s one of the states where we can develop very quickly new power plants, and a state where energy markets are open to receiving investments like the ones we currently have underway.”

Part of Texas’ appeal, he said, is the relative ease of permitting energy projects. That helps companies get projects online faster than other places in the United States.

The largest of the new projects, a solar farm in Falls County near Waco, is projected to produce about 639 megawatts once it’s operational in the fall of 2022, and an adjacent, utility-scale storage facility will be able to store 59 megawatts. Enel officials anticipate the Waco project, called Roseland, will create 350 temporary construction jobs and 18 permanent jobs, and generate more than $52 million in lease payments to the landowner and $59 million in local tax revenues over a 35-year lifetime.

Closer to Houston, the company will build a solar farm capable of generating 270 megawatts and accompanying battery storage of 59 megawatts in Grimes County. It will create about 450 construction positions and eight permanent jobs.

Enel expects the plant to begin operating at the end of this year.

Its third project, in Callahan and Eastland counties, is estimated to generate 263 megawatts through wind turbines with 87 megawatts of storage capacity through its battery system.

Papadimitriou declined to disclose how much his company is investing in the projects. It generally costs about $1 billion to bring 1,000 megawatts of clean energy generation online.

Source: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Enel-announces-three-major-Texas-renewable-energy-16151867.php

May 5, 2021 Mary Sparks