RANDALL COUNTY, TEXAS — Managing member, National Wind of Minneapolis, Minn., and KRS Energy of Centennial, Colo., have announced the launch of Buffalo Wind Energy LLC, a utility-scale, community wind project located in west central Randall County (the “Buffalo Wind Project”). The Buffalo Wind Project plans to develop up to 300 megawatts of wind energy.
Buffalo Wind Energy currently has 14,500 acres under lease between the towns of Amarillo and Umbarger, along with the direct participation of 12 area families. The 12 families appointed four individuals to represent the development as the project’s Board of Advisors. The Buffalo Wind Project Board of Advisors is made up of David Christian, Randy Darnell, Todd Vincent, and Casey Fox.
“Every Texas landowner or rancher knows that the wind blows all the time here,” said Vincent. “The community members and neighbors I’ve worked with on this project are thrilled that they now have a useful outlet for the wind. Although Texas has more installed wind projects than any other state, it has little community wind development. I like that community wind allows for a local advisory board structure; I feel more involved in the process. The local advisory board allows the community to have a collective voice at the table, a voice that really matters.”
Throughout the past year, the board of advisors, along with local attorney, James Wester, have worked in tandem with National Wind and KRS Energy to structure the project and build local interest and participation in the Buffalo Wind Project.
“This is National Wind’s first Texas wind project and we are excited to work with KRS Energy to introduce landowners to our community wind model,” said Travis Moen, project developer for National Wind LLC. “Studies show that community wind projects increase local economic impacts up to five times more than that of non community-based projects. Also, this is a very interesting project because of its unique transmission access that provides potential to sell power into the ERCOT market and the Southern Power Pool (SPP).”
John Kellogg of KRS Energy added: “We’ve made definite headway on Buffalo Wind Energy and the support from the local landowners is encouraging,” he said. “We look forward to working with the community and cultivating relationships to further the project’s progress. Projects like these help rural Texas communities reinvent themselves, adding permanent jobs, local tax base and a steady stream of income to local landowners. They help provide support during these more challenging economic times.”
Community wind projects operate under a business model that allows both landowners who receive turbines and even those who don’t, the opportunity to share in project revenues, said Randy Darnell. “This provides greater profit distribution throughout the local community. It’s about keeping project proceeds local.”