Duke Energy Corporation (Duke Energy) said that now it has 95 wind turbines up and nearly ready to start operation. Phase 1A of the Notrees wind power project went on stream in February 2009 during a test phase. The 55 Vestas wind turbines with 1.65 megawatt (MW) each in Winkler county started spinning and pushing electrons on the state's power grid. A commercial operation date will be decided later in March, 2009. Construction of phase 1A has been started in June 2008.

Phase 1B, which has been started in October 2008 and has 11 of its 40 1.5 MW General Elkectric turbines in Ector county, has a commercial operation date scheduled for April, 2009.

The wind farms have a peak capacity of 150 MW. 1 MW provides enough power for around 800 to 1,000 homes.

Duke Energy spokesman Greg Efthimiou said that the turbines will provide up to 15% of the power needs of all Wal-mart and Sam’s Club locations in Texas as well as their respective warehouses.

The Notrees wind project has provided an economic boost to the area, said Gary Vest, economic development director for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce. Each tower needs between 100 and 150 workers for the construction.

The base of each tower needs 400 cubic yards of concrete and lots of electrical work. Vest also said local contractors such as Sun Electric, Dixie Electric and Saulsbury Industries helped to build the wind towers.

All the turbines have been erected at this point. There’s still some substation work that remains and site restoration, but we’re expecting completion of all the onsite work in June 2009, Efthimiou said.

Sometimes they work around the clock, Vest said.

That has a tremendous impact to our local economy when that’s going on, Vest said. It’s hard to put an exact number on it.

We’ve got a pretty large wind power presence in Texas for obvious reasons, it’s a free and abundant resource, Efthimiou said.