Orsted, global leader and developer of renewable energy assets, announced this Tuesday it has taken a final investment decision on its largest onshore project to date: the 518 MW hybrid wind and solar project Helena Energy Center.
Firstly, the Helena Energy Center is already in construction, it will begin operations around the fist half of 2022. On the other hand, the project expands Orsted’s portfolio in Bee County, South Texas.
Secondly, the hybrid nature of the project allows the company to leverage its strategic location, surrounded in a highly liquid market. The site is in fact on a primary transmission import path into the San Antonio load center and in an area characterized by strong coastal winds and sunshine.
Thirdly, the project consists of 268 MW of wind power in the Helena Wind, and further 250 MWAC of solar in the Sparta Solar projects. As of right now, both sided of the Helena Energy Center have secured contracts with multiple corporate offtakers, including Henkel for a portion of the wind generation and Target for a portion of the solar generation.
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Orsted growing scale and construction capacity
On the other hand, the sustainability side of the Helena Energy Center is important for Orsted; so it is partnering with the Texas Native Seeds Program of the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M. This to conduct some research to identify the right seeds and processes to grow native grasses on the site.
Consequently, the Center could leverage some potential benefits, like lower operational costs, enhanced biodiversity to attract pollinators, lower erosion, and production improvements by lowering the ambient temperature.
Moreover, this project brings Orsted to a new level in its scale; in fact, the company has ranked in the top 5 U.S. constructors in terms of capacity additions, in 2020. Also, the project takes the company’s onshore operational and under construction portfolio to 4 GW.
Finally, Declan Flanagan, Executive VP & CEO Onshore at Orsted, said. “We’ve quickly become one of the largest constructors of new wind and solar in the US; and having world-class capabilities in all facets of energy markets is central to our ambitious growth plans.”