Local wind energy outlook

Local wind energy outlook

Amarillo, TX - Despite a few recent setbacks, wind energy continues to grow in our area.

Today, Class 4 Winds held a seminar focusing on transmission lines and other projects taking place. Energy companies tell us they are eyeing the panhandles, areas well-known for wind. Despite cuts in tax credits, local experts say wind energy is worth tapping into.

"There's a need for more electrical generation, there's a need for an upgraded grid system and new infrastructure," Class 4 Winds Executive Director, AJ Swope, said. "Regardless of what happens with any subsidies or tax incentives with wind energy, we'll see these lines go up and be utilized in one form or fashion."

Companies say there are big projects ahead, one involves building an electricity hub near Clovis, which will be the first of its kind to access all three U.S. power grids.

"It acts a lot like an extension chord," Tres amigas speaker, Laura Manz, explained. "This is going to act like... You know, I can move it this way today, that way tomorrow, I can turn it around in a couple of seconds and so there's really a lot of engineering elegance to the project."

Another project involves building a transmission line from Guymon, Oklahoma to Memphis, Tennessee.

"It will enable, affordable, renewable energy to be removed from where its abundant, which is in the panhandles," Clean Line Energy spokesperson, Max Shilstone, explained. "The Midwestern parts of the United States, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, to where it's needed, that's the Southwestern part of the United States."

Companies hope to get their projects running within the next few years. Some hope it could also translate to lower costs with energy.

"Renewables are essentially a free fuel, so the only thing cheaper than gas would be free fuel like the sun or the wind," Manz said. "So I want to say yes, it would lower the cost."

The companies hope to get their projects started within the next few years, so it may not be long before we start reaping the benefits.