Wind firms commit to $180bn Hurricane Harvey rebuild
North America has been hit by three hurricanes in recent weeks: Harvey, Irma and Jose. Our thoughts are with the people affected by these disasters.
Irma and Jose still represent threats to the east coast of the US, while the state of Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Harvey at the end of August, is now starting to deal with the aftermath. The cost of repairing homes, roads and businesses has been estimated by the Texas government to be up to $180bn.
And the wind industry is not immune from the effects. With over 21GW of installed wind capacity and a pipeline of 7GW of wind projects in advanced development or being built, Texas is the largest state in the US in terms of installed capacity. Wind in Texas has attracted over $38bn in capital investments and there are more than 40 wind manufacturing facilities are located within its state borders.
This means several wind farms were caught in the trajectory of the hurricane, though have come through without reporting severe damage. Among these, Avangrid’s 404MW Penascal wind farm, Duke Energy’s Los Vientos 1 & 2 schemes totalling 400MW, and E.ON’s 380MW Papalote Creek wind farm were among the biggest schemes affected.
Even so, this shows how wind is deeply embedded in these communities, from helping homeowners and businesses to keep the lights on to supporting thousands of jobs.
It is, therefore, only natural that the wind industry is now set to rally round to help the country in its rebuilding effort.
This week, the American Wind Association and a host of major wind companies have joined charity Habitat for Humanity and its initiative to rebuild the state, with a donation of $1m. The funds will be used to support repairs and rebuilding efforts in the areas affected by the storm.
The companies also plan to send volunteers who will help the rebuilding effort where needed. Wind companies participating to the initiative include EDF Renewable Energy, EDP Renewables, Enel Green Power, E.On, Goldwind Americas, Invenergy, Lincoln Clean Energy and Pattern Energy.
It should go without saying that we think this is a great initiative.
Working in wind should not just be about using land within a state to build green projects, but being an active part of the community. It is not just about helping communities to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, but helping them cope with the natural disasters that are already being worsened by climate change.
We look forward to hearing more about the results in due course.