Tri Global, BNSF in marketing deal

Tri Global Energy and a unit of BNSF have completed a marketing agreement that will allow development of logistics center in West Texas that they say will help drive costs out of the wind component supply chain.

The deal is an “innovative approach to manage capacity, optimize routing of turbine components and drive greater volumes through a major facility to reduce costs on a per unit basis,” the two sides say.

“With cost per megawatt getting closer to a level that will make wind energy developers less reliant upon subsidies or tax credits, any additional savings that can be taken out of the supply chain is considered critical by industry insiders and observers,” they add.

As part of the deal, Dallas-based Tri Global will direct utilize the planned West Texas Wind Energy Logistics Center (WTWLC) to receive, store and load out hundreds of turbine components for 16 community wind projects with 6.6GW nameplate capacity that the developer plans.

BNSF Logistics is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Fort Worth-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe, the nation’s number two railroad by size.

Jim Craig, BNSF Logistics chief marketing officer, says that Tri Global’s commitment to utilize the facility has enabled it to be more aggressive in development plans and timelines. A site has been selected that is “strategically situated in the heart of Tri Blobal’s proposed project plans,” although he did not say where.

Most of Tri Global’s announced projects are in counties surrounding Lubbock.

“Having a freight and logistics powerhouse like BNSFL bringing their resources and expertise to boost Tri global’s West Texas projects provides a critical element supporting our overall vision,” says TGE’s chief executive John Billingsley.

The two companies say that discussions regarding the WTWLC are already underway with a number of component manufacturers and turbine makers. They claim the innovations being developed in both component transloading and in-transit handling have peaked interest with many of the wind players.