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Wind Energy Systems Technology LLC (WEST), based in New Iberia, La., has been awarded the first four competitively bid leases for offshore wind power in U.S. history, according to the Texas General Land Office (GLO), which issued the leases.

The leases allow work to begin immediately on the construction of meteorological testing towers on each of the four tracts. WEST already holds the nation's only offshore lease for wind power and is collecting data for a wind farm off the coast of Galveston, the Texas GLO adds.

Following the research phase of the leases, WEST will begin to develop wind farms on each of the four tracts. If winds are favorable, WEST plans to build wind farms that will produce a minimum of 250 MW to 300 MW per lease. Once the wind farms are operational, the Texas GLO continues, W.E.S.T. will pay the state’s Permanent School Fund a minimum of $132 million over the 30-year life of the leases, discounted for the present value of the leases.

"Wind energy is not a feel-good fad," says Jerry Patterson, Texas GLO commissioner. "This is real technology, real business, real energy, and it's happening right here in Texas."

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