In 2016, 120 wind turbine towers started rising above the corn, wheat, sorghum, and cotton fields in Castro County, Texas. Bethel Wind Farm, an hour southwest of Amarillo in the High Plains of the Panhandle, began generating power in January 2017.
Each tower stands 80 meters (262 feet) high. Each turbine has a three-blade rotor 116 meters (381 feet) in diameter. Crops grow around the towers. Cattle pass their days peacefully nearby.
The county, with fewer than 8,000 residents spread over 899.3 square miles, has welcomed the project. Landowners receive a new revenue stream with minimal impact on their farming and ranching operations. The county government has enjoyed additional revenue as well: Bethel and the nearby Jumbo Road Wind Project are paying a combined $800,000 a year for 10 years in lieu of property taxes.
Google buys most of the electricity and associated Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from the project. Cloverly picked up some of the remaining RECs. Each REC represents the intangible environmental benefits of 1 megawatt of renewable energy that has been delivered to the electric grid.
Renewable Energy Certificate