Ørsted has taken a final investment decision on its largest onshore project to date, the 518 MW hybrid wind and solar PV project, Helena Energy Centre, with an expected operational date in the first half of 2022.
The project expands Ørsted's onshore portfolio to Bee County, South Texas, an area with a primary transmission import path into the San Antonio load centre and characterised by strong coastal winds and sunshine.
The Helena Energy Centre consists of the 268 MW Helena Wind array and the 250 MWac solar PV Sparta Solar array, and has already secured contracts with multiple corporate offtakers including Henkel for a portion of the wind generation and Target for a portion of the solar generation.
As part of the project, Ørsted is partnering with the Texas Native Seeds Programme, a non-profit research and development programme of Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, to research the optimal seed mix and planting process to grow native grasses under a portion of the solar project. Potential benefits include lower operational costs, enhanced biodiversity to attract pollinators, lower erosion, and production improvements by lowering the ambient temperature.
The project takes Ørsted's onshore operational and under construction portfolio in the USA to 4 GW, spanning Texas, the Midwest, and Southeast US across wind, solar, and storage.