BACKGROUND: In 2008, Mesa Power’s large scale wind energy project in the Texas panhandle faced delays in obtaining rights of way for water pipeline and electricity transmission line. T. Boone Pickens stated that he intended to make Pampa, Texas the “wind capital of the world.” The project had a four-phase plan totaling about $12 billion in costs. Construction would have created about 1,500 jobs and a typical year of operation would have required 720 jobs.
Despite the project’s potential to benefit 1.3 million homes in the Dallas-Forth Worth area and beyond, affected landowners feared potential harm to their land and fought to have the rights of way denied. During a public meeting regarding the project nearly all 175 residents in attendance raised their hands when asked how many wanted state legislators to oppose Pickens’ efforts to obtain rights of way for water pipeline and electricity transmission lines
In the face of this resistance, Mesa announced in May of 2008 that it would buy 687 wind turbines and commence the initial stages of the project, confident that it would eventually reach an agreement with landowners or, if not, have the land appropriated by eminent domain. In July 2009, however, Pickens scrapped the project due to lack of transmission lines to carry the power and a decline in the financial market. Additionally, natural gas and electricity prices declined making it difficult to finance a transmission line that the area is lacking and that Pickens himself would have built. Since General Electric was still set to deliver the 687 wind turbines that Mesa ordered for the project, Pickens planned to build five or six smaller wind farms in the Midwest and possibly Canada.
SOURCES: Times Record News: http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2008/may/17/opposition-high-projects/?partner=yahoo_headlines;
Dallas News: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/022809dnbusmesabrf.dee4437.html;
Times Record News http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2008/apr/30/pickens-sends-landowners-letters/;
USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2009-07-07-pickens-texas-wind-farm-scrapped_N.htm;
ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Business/story?id=8030740&page=1;
Mesa Power: http://www.mesapowergroup.com/index.php/news/51-third-release
Last updated November 29, 2010