A massive West Texas wind farm that came under scrutiny for its plans to incorporate Chinese wind turbines – yet still qualify for federal stimulus funds – is aiming to appease critical lawmakers by proposing a U.S. turbine factory, reports the Dallas Morning News.
The 36,000-acre wind farm in Texas has sought $480 million in stimulus funds, but Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote a letter of protest to Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
The proposed U.S. turbine factory would employ about a thousand people.
U.S. Renewable Energy Group and Energy Generation Systems Ltd. of China (dba A-Power) are the main partners in the proposed $1.5 billion wind farm.
In response to Schumer, Chu wrote back that the project could apply for tax credits available to other qualifying entities, and that “manufacturers will not build plants here and grow their production capacity here unless there is domestic demand, and, until recently, that was not the case.”
A-Power has hedged its promise of a new factory, however. Due to financing arrangements and the more imminent need for turbines for the Texas project, it is unlikely that the proposed factory would supply turbines to be actually used in the project.
Schumer continues to take umbrage with the project.
“We still maintain no stimulus money should be used to manufacture wind turbines in China,” he said.
Texas added more wind capacity than any other state in the most recent quarter.
In October, what is now the world’s largest wind farm opened in Texas. The 781.5 megawatt wind farm, situated amongst 100,000 acres of cotton farms in the Panhandle, cost $1 billion to construct.