US-based electric utility Austin Energy has received approval for three new wind contracts totaling 570MW, from the Austin City Council.
Of the three contracts, two are for 200MW with Duke Energy Renewables and the remainder is for 170MW with E.ON Climate and Renewables North America.
Under the contract with Duke Energy, Austin Energy will purchase clean energy generated from Los Vientos 3 and Los Vientos 4 wind projects in Starr County in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Los Vientos 3 wind project will become operational at the end of 2014, and the Los Vientos 4 is anticipated to be completed by mid-2016.
As per the agreed terms with E.ON, the company will purchase clean power generated from the Patriot Wind project, which will become operational by the end of 2014.
Commenting on the approval, Austin Energy general manager Larry Weis said, "The extension of federal Production Tax Credits (PTCs) for wind developers, combined with the recent decline in power prices and lower demand for new wind generation means we are able to keep costs down while expanding our renewable portfolio to meet our goals ahead of schedule."
Austin Energy noted that the approval of these wind power contracts will bring the company’s total wind portfolio to 1,225MW and puts the utility four years ahead of schedule for meeting its 35% renewable energy resources goal by 2020.