Pantex Wind Farm Complete
NNSA administrator makes first Pantex visit to inaugurate PREP
The largest federally owned wind farm in the country will officially commence operations Tuesday when Gen. Frank G. Klotz, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and National Nuclear Security Administrator makes his first official visit to Pantex to “throw the switch” on the Pantex Renewable Energy Project (PREP).
Klotz is scheduled to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the five-turbine, 11.5 megawatt wind farm, which will generate more than 60 percent of the electricity needed yearly by the Pantex Plant, the nation’s primary facility for the assembly, disassembly and maintenance of nuclear weapons.
“For 70 years, Pantex has played a vital security role by helping to create and maintain the nation’s nuclear deterrent. Now, Pantex is poised to help secure the future of America through utilization of renewable energy, as well,” said NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart.
Construction on the one-of-a-kind wind farm began in August under a unique finance model, known as an Energy Savings Performance Contract, which allows contractor Siemens Government Technologies, Inc., to build PREP with no upfront cost to the taxpayers. Siemens will be paid directly from the value of guaranteed energy savings generated by the turbines, an amount expected to average $2.8 million annually.
The five turbines, each 400 feet tall, were built on 1,500 acres of federal land adjacent to the main Pantex Plant. Erection of the wind towers was completed early this year, and crews have since been working to connect the turbines into the plant’s electricity grid.
PREP will generate approximately 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which is enough to power nearly 3,500 homes. The project will 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.
In addition to providing the majority of the electricity for Pantex operations, PREP will serve 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 the resources of DOE/NNSA, Pantex and TTU’s National Wind Institute to study ways to create a world-class energy research center at Pantex.
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