Zoning/Planning and Texas
Allowing a 200-foot weather tower and the management of the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center will be discussed today by Port of Corpus Christi commissioners.
Colorado-based Revolution Energy, LLC filed a permit for a two-year agreement with the port to install a meteorological tower to collect wind data. Tibor Hegedus, president and chief project developer for Revolution, said that if wind conditions are good, the company might invest in a wind farm.
Commissioners will discuss leasing a quarter acre near the Corpus Christi Railroad Terminal office on the north side of the harbor. The location provides an ideal location for the tower, Hegedus said.
“The visual impact of wind turbines sometimes raises questions of concern, but in a setting with smokestacks and such, it may mitigate concern,” Hegedus said.
Commissioners also are expected to award a contract to Ovations Food Service, LP, a subsidiary of Comcast Spectacor, for the management and operation of the Ortiz Center. Comcast Spectacor is a Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm.
Port officials previously said Comcast was being chosen because of its experience managing facilities. Comcast operates more than 60 facilities in the United States and Canada, including Nueces County’s Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.
The port looked for a company that would assume all responsibility for the center. Comcast, through its subsidiary Ovations Food Services, would handle accounting, event bookings and catering, he added.
The center had been managed by Norris Training Systems Inc., based in Houston, and Water Street Inc. provided catering.
Tierra Energy LLC announced today that it has secured a contract to build a $55 million wind farm that will supply a Wyoming power company with renewable energy.
Austin-based Tierra Energy's subsidiary, Happy Jack Windpower, will provide Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power with wind-generated energy over a 20-year period. Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power is a subsidiary of Rapid City, S.D.-based Black Hills Corp. (NYSE:BKH).
A Louisiana company plans to install the first of 50 wind turbine platforms 10 miles off Galveston Island this week, moving the project closer to its goal of becoming the first U.S. offshore wind farm.
Galveston Offshore Wind, a division of Wind Energy Systems Technologies, plans to install a former oil production platform in about 50 feet of water in the coming days. At first weather-data-gathering instruments will sit on top of a tower some 300 feet above sea level, but by September the company hopes to have its first wind turbine in place.
In a bid to block two large wind energy projects on the South Texas coast, an alliance of environmental groups and landowners is taking aim at the high-voltage transmission line required for the project.
The wind farms represent a $1 billion investment in a remote corner of the Kenedy Ranch.
It’s windy, man.
No, not that Windy Man, the disgraced concrete structure that state officials once planned to put around Lubbock highways.
Rather, it’s the non-stop howling variety that is, more and more, bringing money to the region. Investors see potential in what people here have known for a long time about the South Plains and Panhandle - it’s windy, man.
Some of the best wind in Texas hits ridge lines in the Davis Mountains and mesas in Taylor County near Abilene. That’s hundreds of miles of away. But there’s a small stretch of ideal wind pockets along the Caprock in Dickens, Floyd, Motley and Briscoe counties.
“We have a lot of developers call us up and say, ‘Where’s nobody looking?’” said David Carr, assistant director at the AEI. “I don’t think there’s going to be that magic spot, but if there is one … that’s a pretty hot spot.”
Big Country landowners who lost a lawsuit last year against FPL Energy over the company's Horse Hollow wind farm plan to file an appeal soon.
In December, a jury ruled against about ten plaintiffs who said the wind farm created a public nuisance near their homes, siding instead with FPL Energy.
Patricia Lapoint, who lives near Tuscola, said an appeal is being drafted, and most of the original plaintiffs are participating.
It will likely be filed in the 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland.
A judge recently decided the plaintiffs do not have to pay FPL Energy's legal fees from the original lawsuit, which amount to $30,000 to $40,000.
Lapoint said the plaintiffs will have a better chance of winning the appeal because more information will be taken into consideration during the process.
"The scope of the district trial was very limited," Lapoint said.
Mary Wells of FPL Energy said this past week that all the wind turbines will be located in Cooke County, although there will be a few in the Saint Jo School District, which crosses into Cooke County. ...Wells said where wind turbines are not as well known, there are often lots of questions, unlike in West Texas where they are more common.
"Very frequently people have questions we can satisfy, but some you can't reconcile. It is not unusual at all to face tough questions. If it is accepted, it can be a welcome experience. Sometimes it can't be resolved, but it is not a reason why we would not build," explained Wells.
Saint Jo area residents rose up in protest about the wind turbine project with neighbors in conflict with each other. A citizen's advocacy group was formed and the city of Saint Jo enacted ordinances prohibiting their location in the city limits or extraterritorial jurisdiction.
A lawsuit filed by a group of citizens from both counties seeking a temporary injunction to halt the wind farm production is still pending in the 235th District Court. Wells said in that suit an agreement has been reached and both sides are working out the details.
Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. will form a joint venture with American Electric Power Co., owner of the biggest U.S. network of high-voltage electricity lines, to build transmission lines in Texas.
The venture will take on as much as $1 billion of projects in the next several years, Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric said Monday in a prepared statement. American Electric will contribute $100 million of existing power-line projects, and MidAmerican will contribute cash to the 50-50 venture.
Reaffirming their mission as “stewards of land and livestock,” members of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association adopted policy Oct. 13 calling for enhanced government support for environmental conservation, an independent evaluation of industrial wind farms and efforts to address the growing shortage of large-animal veterinarians.
Commissioners voted Monday to clear the way for a series of industrial sized wind generators to be built in the Wolf Ridge area, located northwest of Gainesville.
In business, the Commissioners voted 4-0 to accept a roadwork proposal from the Wolf Ridge Wind Project to prepare certain county roads for large trucks to haul parts and equipment for the titan wind turbines. ...David Tenan of the Wolf Ridge Wind Project said with trailers hauling parts for the 125,000-pound nacelles a greater turning radius would be necessary than what is currently available on the mostly gravel country roads.
The council, without hesitation, did vote unanimously to amend the Lewisville Code of Ordinances to prohibit the use of wind turbines for the generation of electric power within the city limits of Lewisville.
The council agreed that, at least until technology improves so the wind turbines will create less noise, that they will not be allowed in the city limits.
If you want a wind turbine for your home, it better be quiet and on a patch of open land.
If not, the city won't allow it under the latest draft of the city's wind energy ordinance.
The proposed changes, which the City Council will discuss Tuesday, don't bring the sweeping reforms alternative energy advocates wanted.
Applause filled the Gillespie County Commissioners' Courtroom Thursday after commissioners passed a resolution opposing wind farms in Gillespie County.
Signed by Gillespie County Judge Mark Stroeher and all four commissioners, the document states the court's opposition to "the construction and installation of industrial wind farms in Gillespie County and the surrounding Hill Country area." Stroeher said that the Llano City Council had recently passed a similar resolution to the one approved during the meeting, which had been moved up from its originally scheduled date on Christmas Eve.
The possibility that giant wind turbines could someday find homes on Gillespie County hills is drawing notice among landowners, business interests and area residents.
Some landowners in a north-central section Gillespie County say they have been contacted by representatives of a company called AES Wind Generation about the possibility of signing lease agreements to allow construction of the large energy-generating towers on their individual properties as part of a larger wind farm operation.
Meanwhile, AES is also reportedly engaged in a preliminary stage of studying whether or not the wind currents in that part of the county would make such a wind farm practical.
Gamesa Energy asked Young County to expedite its proposal to put a wind farm in the county, with a representative saying getting a tax abatement in place quickly could greatly benefit the school districts.
Colin Kelly with Gamesa told commissioners the Texas Legislature was considering a bill that would cap the amount of revenue school districts can get due to wind farms.
If all goes as planned, Jasper County commissioners will meet in public session in Houston next week with BP (British Petroleum) officials to discuss wind generation in Pecos County.
Why Jasper is involved in energy production in far west Texas is a long story.
Howard County commissioners approved a trio of reinvestment zones necessary to grant tax abatements Monday morning, moving forward with negotiations with several wind energy developers that could lead to an estimated 400 to 500 new turbines being erected in the county.
Commissioners met with Terry Wegman, executive director for Moore Development, who is serving as a liaison between the wind energy developers and local taxing entities for the purpose of establishing reinvestment zones, and ultimately, negotiating tax abatements for several proposed projects.
The court approved reinvestment zones A, B and C, following a public hearing that drew comments from only a single property owner. ..."Even the smaller developments - the smallest one is 36 megawatts - will be putting up quite a few turbines. I think we're looking at between 400 and 500 turbines at this point, but that's nothing more than a rough estimate."
Tom Green County commissioners scrambled Tuesday to get on board the wind energy express before it leaves the station.
They voted unanimously to lobby the Public Utility Commission for an upcoming designation as a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ).
Jasper County first advertised for bids to develop a wind power project in July of 2002. The county received two bids, one from Pecos Renewable Energy (PRE) and one from RES North America.
After review and recommendation by the county's attorneys Mark Morgan and Thane Adkins, the court unanimously voted on Oct. 23, 2002, to accept PRE's bid.
Five years ago wind energy was a relatively new enterprise to Texans, but in 2006 Texas surpassed California to become the nation's leader in wind capacity. ...If PRE can prove they have met the milestones of the contract, they may co-develop a wind farm with their named collaborator, Suzlon Wind Energy, the fifth-leading wind turbine supplier in the world. Or they can flip their lease and sell to another energy company, in which case Jasper County would receive royalties as development occurs.
But unless the contract is terminated and Jasper has an opportunity to seek a new energy partner, PRE has the county's hands tied for the next 25 years (with automatic renewal for 10 more years) with no contractual obligation to produce anything.
Kerr County commissioners have sent a message to Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation officials regarding possible routes for transmission lines in the area.
"Go to another county," said Pct. 1 Commissioner Buster Baldwin during Monday's commission meeting.
County commissioners also asked for the transmission lines to follow existing rights-of-way.