AT&T is expanding its wind energy program with NextEra Energy Resources. AT&T’s new power purchase agreement (PPA) with a subsidiary of NextEra will deliver 300 MW of renewable energy from two new wind projects in Wilbarger and Hardeman counties, Texas.
The companies have also announced a scholarship program for students interested in pursuing careers as wind turbine technicians.
The new agreement builds on AT&T’s previous investments backing two wind farms in Webb and Duval counties, Texas, and Caddo County, Okla. Together, these agreements will deliver 820 MW of wind power.
“We’re going big on renewable energy. It’s a clean, abundant, renewable source of homegrown power,” notes Joe Taylor, vice president of global tech optimization and implementation at AT&T. “As one of the world’s largest companies, our investments can help scale this critical energy source for America’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”
NextEra Energy Resources estimates the AT&T-backed wind farms will create as many as 1,000 construction jobs in Texas and Oklahoma. The projects are also estimated to generate nearly $190 million in property tax revenues for local communities and more than $167 million in lease payments to landowners.
“We are pleased to work with AT&T to expand the reach of renewable energy and provide a significant economic boost to local communities, both in Texas and Oklahoma,” says Kevin Gildea, NextEra Energy Resources’ vice president of development.
AT&T is providing $50,000 for Texas State Technical College (TSTC) to create the AT&T Wind Energy Scholarship fund. The fund provides financial assistance for students earning a TSTC wind energy degree or certificate and is open exclusively to students from counties with AT&T-backed wind farms (Webb, Duval, Wilbarger and Hardeman counties). NextEra Energy Resources has committed to interview graduates of the TSTC program for future wind technician positions, as they become available, as well as internship opportunities.
The scholarship complements a new wind energy program being established at Webb County Consolidated Independent Schools (WCISD) and supported by NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy Resources has contributed a wind turbine gearbox to the school to help students with hands-on training.
“We welcome the opportunity to educate, expose and equip our students with dynamic skill sets stemming from the benefits of a career in renewable energy,” says Beto Gonzalez, superintendent of Webb Consolidated Independent School District. “We are grateful to both NextEra Energy Resources and AT&T for their generous contributions to establish one of the nation’s first high school wind energy programs and for creating a new and exciting career path for our students.”