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Wind company hosts community open house in Rio Hondo

May 17, 2019

HARLINGEN — Anyone with questions about the Palmas Altas wind farm east of Rio Hondo will have them answered Sunday at Palmas Altas Day.

Acciona Energy’s second Cameron County wind farm, following the success of the nearby San Roman wind farm, is under construction. The $200 million Palmas Altas wind farm will add 46 wind turbines to the skyline east of the city with a capacity of 144.9 megawatts of power generation.

On Sunday at Arroyo Baptist Church, company executives and employees will be holding court for residents of the area with a catered event at the church at 37656 Marshall Hutts Road.

Spokesperson David Jakubiak said the event will allow those interested to go on a virtual reality tour of a wind farm in the Rio Grande Valley, including the virtual experience of entering a tower and riding up a lift.

In preparation for the Palmas Altas wind facility, Acciona has been building a new warehouse and office complex on North Olmito Road and preparing the foundations and access roads for the 46 Nordex AW3150 wind turbines which are being installed.

“The community in South Texas has welcomed us, and we look forward to being neighbors for many years,” according to a statement issued at the start of the process by Rafael Esteban, CEO of Acciona Energy USA.

Esteban will be in attendance at the church Sunday.

Acciona employed about 170 construction workers in building the new wind farm. When complete, it will employ a 10-person operations team.

In a previous interview with the Valley Morning Star, Esteban said his company was bullish on the Rio Grande Valley because winds off the gulf here blow at night and not just during daytime hours like many other locations in Texas and the United States. That generates more profits, he said

The wind turbines installed in Palmas Altas will have a rotor diameter of 410 feet and will be mounted on steel towers which will be 287 feet tall at the hub.

When fully operational, Palmas Altas wind farm will generate around 524 gigawatt hours of energy annually, which would power 43,000 homes.

The energy produced by the Palmas Altas wind farm will be sold in the ERCOT-South Texas wholesale market.

rkelley@valleystar.com