Developer Ørsted advances solar and wind project


Ørsted said it finalized its decision to start work on a combination solar and wind power project in southern Texas.

Totaling 518 MW and representing a nearly $500 million investment, the Helena Energy Center will consist of the 250 MW Sparta Solar and 268 MW Helena Wind facilities. The project is expected to be online in the first half of 2022.

The project has secured contracts with multiple corporate offtakers, including retailer Target for a portion of the solar generation and chemicals company Henkel for a portion of the wind generation. Ørsted is also partnering with the Texas Native Seeds Program for plant research at the solar facility.

The solar portion will consist of around 775,000 monocrystalline photovoltaic panels and is expected to produce around 550,000 MWh of electricity each year.

Ørsted said the location in Bee County near Corpus Christi and the Gulf of Mexico allows it to use strong coastal winds and solar insolation. It will interconnect to an American Electric Power transmission corridor to access San Antonio load centers.

Ørsted, a Denmark-based developer and owner of solar farms, onshore and offshore wind farms, and energy storage facilities, said the Helena Energy Center represents the company’s largest onshore project to date.

The project takes Ørsted’s onshore operational and under-construction portfolio to 4 GW, including U.S. solar, wind, and storage projects across Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeast.

To support future growth, Ørsted also integrated its U.S. trading team into its onshore business. Ben Pratt has been appointed to lead the Chicago-based team and will report to onshore CEO Declan Flanagan.

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