Grant for Texas pilot wind-powered desalination plant

The Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA) has made a US$ 2.75 million grant to Mitchell County, Texas, towards a US$ 8 million pilot project to use wind power for a brackish-water desalination project.

Seven new wells will be drilled for the project, which will produce up to 0.75 MGD (2,800 m³/d) and could later be expanded to double that production, the TRDA said on 18 July 2011.

Three 500 kW wind turbines produced by General Dynamics will provide about 40% of the electricity needed to operate the desalination facility. Power from the turbines will be donated to Mitchell County for this project.

Construction of the project, which will supply Colorado City, is expected to begin late this year. Eventually, the county hopes to expand the project to supply Westbrook, Lorraine and other communities in the county.

Funds to develop projects using wind power to desalinate brackish groundwater were provided to TDRA by the Texas Legislature. TDRA also funded a project at Seminole to use wind power for desalination through its Renewable Energy Demonstration Pilot Program.