U.S. Plant that Assembles Nuclear Weapons to be Powered by…Wind

Sunday, August 18, 2013

When “nuclear” and “alternative energy” come up in the same conversation, it is usually one versus the other. But out in the Texas Panhandle, where the wind never seems to stop blowing, the two forms of energy will not only peacefully coexist, but one will actually support the other.


Outside Amarillo, Texas, lies a sprawling facility known as the Pantex Plant, which assembles and disassembles nuclear warheads and bombs. The Cold War-era factory has long gotten its electricity the old-fashioned way—off the grid, but soon will take a new approach to powering its operations.


The Obama administration has decided to install five wind turbines at Pantex, so that 60% of the plant’s power needs are provided through this form of renewable energy.


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which oversees Pantex, says the use of wind power will reduce carbon emissions by more than 35,000 metric tons per year. That’s equal to removing 7,200 cars from the road, the DOE boasts.


“As the largest energy user in the country, the federal government has a tremendous opportunity to lead by example in taking actions to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy usage to save taxpayers dollars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman said in a prepared statement. “Responsible development of America’s wind energy resources is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, and the Pantex wind project furthers our commitment to lead by example and to advance a cleaner, more sustainable energy future.”


The government hopes to have the turbines up and generating power by next summer. Officials say the wind farm will generate approximately 47 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, which, if it wasn’t going to Pantex, would be enough to light up nearly 3,500 homes.


Tina Casey of Clean Technica writes that the project “is also significant because of its location in Texas, which despite its long history as the heart of the U.S. oil and gas industry also happens to be the largest, fastest-growing wind power market in the U.S. by a wide, wide margin.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Largest Federally-Owned Wind Farm Breaks Ground at U.S. Weapons Facility (Department of Energy)

Top U.S. Nuclear Weapons Facility To Be Powered By The Wind (by Tina Casey, Clean Technica)

Big Energy Firm Agrees to Replace Coal-Burning Plants with Wind and Solar Operations (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)


Leave a comment