Texas Law Students Tour Sweetwater Wind Farm

On October 29, 2021, law students from The University of Texas School of Law (Texas Law) and Texas Tech University School of Law (Texas Tech) toured of the Sweetwater Wind Warm, one of the largest wind farms in the world. The tour was led by Rod Wetsel (J.D. ’77), a recognized leader in wind energy and an adjunct professor at Texas Tech. (Professor Wetsel previously taught wind law at Texas Law for several years.) During the tour, the students attended a presentation on wind turbine operation by the project manager at Leeward Wind Energy. They listened to another presentation on wind turbine power monitoring and went inside an operational wind turbine. After leaving the wind farm, they visited 69 Ranch, which has over 100 wind turbines covered by one of the first wind leases in Nolan County. At Ranch 69, the students heard presentations on the impact of wind energy on the Sweetwater and West Texas economy by the director of Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development and local landowners in the surrounding wind projects. The wind tour concluded with a driving tour to observe E.On’s Roscoe Wind Project, the third largest wind farm in the world. The students got to network with attorneys and others involved in wind energy over a BBQ lunch sponsored by Professor Wetsel’s law firm, Wetsel, Carmichael, Allen & Lederle.

From left to right: Agostina Milani, an LL.M. student from Argentina, Professor Rod Wetsel, and Marcelo Somohano, an LL.M. student from Mexico.
Students from Texas Law and Texas Tech at the Sweetwater Wind Farm.

What Students Are Saying

“During this amazing trip, where we witnessed the scale in which wind energy is being generated, we learned a lot of details that are related to wind law. We learned about the negotiations that landowners get into with companies that build the wind farms, we discussed how prioritizing the use of the energy generated by wind turbines depends on how the power purchase agreement was structured and negotiated and how many different parties are interconnected in these kinds of projects. This includes those who are in charge of the substations and the transmission and distribution of the energy, which ends up all over Texas. At the end of the tour, while we had some BBQ, Professor Wetsel introduced us to some landowners and manufacturers, who talked about their experiences with the wind farm companies. They spoke about the tremendous benefits and struggles in developing the wind sector. It was a very enriching experience that has further my understanding and interest in energy law.”

-Marcelo Somohano, Class of 2021, LL.M. Student from Mexico

“After taking the Wind and Solar Law course at Texas Law, it was a rewarding experience to go to a wind farm in Sweetwater. Professor Wetsel and his colleagues shared with us meaningful insights not only from a legal standpoint but also from a practical standpoint. We were also able to get a better understanding of the operation of the wind farm, the technology of the wind turbines, and the interaction with landowners, among other issues.”

-Agostina Milani, Class of 2021, LL.M. Student from Argentina