Pantex’s five-turbine 11.5 megawatt total capacity wind farm is not only fueling the plant but also fostering research. The wind farm is furthering its collaboration with Texas Tech University to make Pantex a leader in innovation within the wind energy sector.
“This is definitely a pilot project for the Department of Energy and, as time passes and both the economics and operability are confirmed, can serve as a flagship for duplicating this system,” said Pantex Senior Director of Engineering Joe Papp.
Since coming online, the wind farm has generated approximately 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, which equals approximately 60 percent of the electricity used for Pantex operations. The wind farm, the largest federally owned, reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 34,000 metric tons per year, the equivalent of removing 7,000 cars from the road each year or planting 825,000 trees.
“The economic impact above and beyond the megawatt-hour production savings that often gets overlooked is the Renewable Energy Credits, or RECs,” said Dale Moon, senior department manager in Facility Engineering. “In 2015, the wind farm at Pantex produced approximately 44,000 RECs. Looking to the future, this helps Pantex exceed federal mandates outlined in Executive Order 13693, which states that 20 percent of federal facilities’ energy consumption will come from on-site generation or purchase of RECs by 2020. The Pantex wind farm is capable of supplying excess RECs to other DOE sites within the complex and has met this requirement for both the Pantex and Y-12 facilities.”
Owning and operating the largest government wind farm is a source of pride for Pantexans. Power from the wind farm is being used to fuel the only nuclear weapons assembly/disassembly plant in the country. Carrying out this mission secures America by providing a strong nuclear deterrent.