A. Lee Graham email@example.com
Months after announcing the nation’s largest wind farm project, Tri Global Energy LLC has joined forced with BNSF Logistics LLC to build a center to supply wind energy components and materials to support West Texas’ burgeoning role as an industry epicenter. “The reason West Texas is a perfect place for wind energy is all three power grids meet in West Texas,” said Jim Craig, chief marketing officer for BNSF Logistics, a wholly owned Flower Mound-based subsidiary of Fort Worth’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC.
“We can sell it to California, the upper Midwest and Northeast and across the Southwest,” Craig said. Joining forces makes sense, both companies say. With Tri Global’s wind energy development acumen and BNSF Logistics’ experience in freight movement, the partnership is expected to maximize the region’s ability to move wind farm components in and out of the region as demand causes wind farms to multiply. The newly announced agreement calls for both companies to align resources, market knowledge and industry relationships to support BNSF Logistics’ development of Tri Global Energy’s West Texas Wind Energy Logistics Center, as the planned project is called. The center will be located north of Lubbock, according to BNSF Logistics officials. Covering 40 acres, the initial stage is only the beginning; BNSF Logistics holds the option on the entire 200-acre site. When fully developed, the property is expected to receive, store and load out hundreds of turbine components arriving by rail and truck each month. The components come from China, Brazil and other countries. The logistics center is expected to open in late April or early May and start receiving large volumes of components in 2015, Craig said. Wind blades 100 feet long and 20 feet wide have become part of the West Texas horizon as they generate energy for communities hundreds of miles away.
But does demand exist in Fort Worth and the rest of North Texas? “We’re already seeing it,” said Craig. “We’re already using wind energy in Texas as it is because it’s put into the power grid along with more traditionally generated electricity,” Craig said. Economic conditions now seem to favor wind energy production. According to Tri Global, the cost per megawatt is approaching a level that will make wind energy developers less reliant on subsidies or tax credits. Companies building rotor blades and other wind farm components already are discussing moving those products through the planned West Texas logistics center. They have expressed interest in the facility’s component trans-loading and in-transit product handling, according to Tri Global officials.
“West Texas has emerged as the bulls-eye for wind energy projects in North America,” said John Billingsley, Tri Global Energy’s CEO, commenting in a news release. He cited “ideal” wind speeds, geography and location at the nexus of the nation’s three power grids as reasons for that status. Sharing that enthusiasm is Ray Greer, BNSF Logistics president. “We are committed to meeting the unique needs of the wind energy industry, and our agreement with Tri Global is a strong vote of confidence in our approach,” Greer said.