Impact on Landscape and Texas
A federal court judge said Tuesday he needs time to sort through a complicated legal challenge brought by the King Ranch and several environmental groups that want to stop a massive wind farm near the South Texas Gulf Coast.
U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel will have to decide if a mid-1990s federal Coastal Zone Management Act requires the state to conduct public hearings before a wind farm can be approved - if it affects private property and if the environmental groups have a right to sue. ...Lawyers for the wind farm developers said wind farms are not like electric utilities, which are subject to regulation.
Florida Power & Light Co. -- with 1,600 wind turbines the largest wind-power generator in Texas -- is considering putting power transmission lines through the heart of the prairie to bring environmentally friendly wind-generated power to Fort Worth and Dallas.
Doing so would supply 2,000 megawatts of wind-generated electricity -- enough to power 500,000 homes -- reducing the amount of electricity needed from coal-fired plants and thus cutting emissions that contribute to ozone pollution and global warming.
The possibility of 130-foot-high transmission lines cutting through the prairie, however, complicates local efforts to purchase and preserve it. The state's General Land Office, which bought the property as an investment for $21 million in 2005 and is considering whether to sell it to a private developer, has given local leaders time to raise the money to purchase the property.
FREDERICKSBURG - Residents of this scenic Hill Country community are split over a California company's interest in building a field of wind turbines north of town to generate electricity.
An environmental group outlined concerns Wednesday on how proposed offshore wind farms, poised to become the first in the Texas, might negatively affect wildlife.
Baryonyx Corp. wants to install 200 wind turbines each in three areas off the South Texas coast, one of which is planned for the Coastal Bend. The group's comments to the Army Corps of Engineers illustrate why the project is likely to be one of the state's most scrutinized wind energy developments.
Wind energy has become a hot-button issue in Brown County since the Roadrunner Windfarm was proposed last year by Renewable Energy Systems Inc. The proposed $450 million project will involve Brown, Comanche and Mills counties and include 150 turbines. Only 15-20 are expected to be located in southeast Brown County, and construction could begin in 2009.
Comanche and Mills counties have approved tax abatement agreements with RES, but Brown County commissioners have yet to approve the request. ...
Burns said the taxpayers will bear the burden of the turbines if the industry dries up and blows away.
"The legions of losers are the taxpayers," Burns continued. "This is the most important decision Brown County will ever make. Let's tell Germany and England: Don't mess with Brown County."