Ørsted wraps up construction on 518 MW Helena Energy Center ,Texas

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Construction on the 518 MW Helena Energy Center in Texas, a mixed wind and solar farm, has been completed. Undertaken by Ørsted, the farm is set to supply green electricity to 110,000 homes and businesses yearly. The center has already secured multiple contracts. This has ensured a stable market for the energy produced.

Scope of the Texas Helena Energy Center

Located in Bee County, the center combines power from the 268 MW Helena Wind Farm and the 250 MW Sparta Solar Farm.  In total, the energy center has 66 wind turbines and over 600,000 solar PV panels. The Helena Energy Center spans over 18,000 acres and includes 40 participating landowners, who are expected to receive a combined $4 million annually in landowner payments over the projects’ lifetimes.

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During construction, approximately 500 construction jobs were created with additional roles being required for operation and maintenance of the wind and solar farms over the next several decades.

“This project should come as welcome news to all Texans as it provides significant clean power to our state at a time when all eyes are on grid reliability. I’m especially proud that the Bee County community will also benefit from workforce opportunities, public school support, and funding for rural areas like ours,” said Texas Senator Morgan Lamantia, who represents Bee County.

“Our schools, infrastructure, and county tax structure will receive tremendous contributions by way of property tax revenues from the Helena Energy Center. Ørsted has been a good neighbour in the Bee County community, and we look forward to maintaining a positive and open relationship in the years to come,” said County Commissioner Dennis DeWitt.

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Ørsted’s first co-located wind and solar project

As part of this financing, Ørsted plans to invest in both solar and solar-plus-storage projects.  “Helena Energy Center is unique in that it’s Ørsted’s first co-located wind and solar project and the largest renewable energy project in our global onshore portfolio. Taking advantage of the Gulf of Mexico’s strong coastal winds and abundant sunshine, this project will offer reliable energy to Texas’ grid and economic opportunity for the local community. In reaching full operations, Helena Energy Center brings Ørsted’s global operating onshore portfolio to 4.8 GW. We look forward to building on that momentum as more onshore projects come online in the US this year,” said  David Hardy, Executive Vice President and CEO of Region Americas at Ørsted.

Solar and Wind Energy in Texas

The company has also built a 40MW storage project at its 410MW Permian Energy Center, also in Texas, as it looks to expand its battery energy storage systems in the US. The Helena centre is Ørsted’s third project to reach commercial operation in the country. It has increased the country’s solar generation capacity in the country to 647MW. Ørsted partially funded the Sparta project through a US$680 million tax equity financing with investment bank JP Morgan, signed last month.

Permian Energy Centre, Andrews County, Texas, USA

According to the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), in the first quarter this year, Texas has recorded 32.1 GW from large-scale power. The State expected to add 50.5GW of new capacity over the next five years, the most in the US. The Senator’s comments, however, draw attention to growing concerns over grid availability for new solar projects in a number of markets. This includes Texas, which has sought to deliver new power generation capacity alongside more reliable grid infrastructure.