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E.ON to build 440-MW wind project in Texas

German utility E.ON SE announced Aug. 15 that it will build a 440-MW wind project in Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo counties in Texas, a week after the Austin, Texas, City Council approved a contract for a portion of its output.

The Big Raymond wind farm represents an investment of more than $500 million, E.ON said in a news release, adding that the wind farm is its largest single-phase project in the U.S. to date. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this year.

On Aug. 8, the Austin City Council, which oversees city-owned electric utility Austin Energy, approved a 12-year power purchase agreement for 200 MW from the E.ON facility.

The agreement provides for a nonescalating fixed price per megawatt-hour of energy, according to a separate Aug. 15 news release from Austin Energy. The utility will not have to invest any money in the construction, operation or maintenance of the wind project, it said, though it will pay $17 million a year under the contract.

Including previously approved contracts set to go into effect in 2021 and 2023, 61% of Austin Energy's generation portfolio will be sourced from renewable resources once the E.ON project starts operation in December 2020, the utility said.

Austin Energy targets 55% of renewable energy by 2025 and 65% by the end of 2027. It is now at 41%, it said.