Texas wind farms back in operation after Hurricane Harvey

Texas wind farms are back in operation following the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

In the aftermath of the storms and flooding, Papalote Creek Wind Farm near Corpus Christi is now fully operational once more.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this is the first time that a wind farm has been hit by a hurricane, and its resilience is being lauded as a result.

Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of more than 130 miles an hour a week ago Friday about 20 miles from the Papalote Creek Wind Farm near Corpus Christi, Texas,” wrote WSJ reporter Russell Gold, “One section of the onshore wind farm was producing electricity on Thursday and the other was expected to be back online on Friday, according to its owner, German power company E.ON SE .”

Chairman of E.ON’s North American operations, Patrick Woodson, said that the entire farm ‘survived really well’ before adding that the majority of the delays in restarting were due to fallen power lines.

Gold’s report continued to outline:

Weather gauges suggest the wind farm didn’t take the brunt of the storm: they recorded sustained winds of 90 miles an hour, or the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

The wind farm has a total of 196 turbines and can generate 380 megawatts, making it a fairly large power generator. The turbines were made by Vestas Wind Systems A/S andSiemens AG .

The storm was the first major test of how U.S. wind-power installations, which now provide roughly 6% of the nation’s electricity, hold up in hurricane-force winds.

Justin Sharp, a consultant and chairman of the American Meteorological Society’s renewable-energy committee, said he wasn’t surprised the wind farm survived. The turbines are designed to shut down and feather their blades when the wind gets too strong.

He said turbines would probably begin to fail when winds reached 140 miles an hour, with blades detaching and smashing into nearby towers. At those speeds, Dr. Sharp said, “all bets are off.”

In addition, Bloomberg reported on how one wind farm remained operational even during the storm:

Pattern Energy Group Inc.’s Gulf Wind farm in Texas remained in operation even as Hurricane Harvey devastated the state with a deluge of rain and winds that reached 130 miles an hour. The 283-megawatt power plant is in Armstrong, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) from Corpus Christi, where the storm crashed into the coast.”