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Residents have concerns about wind farm

CORPUS CHRISTI - A wind farm for Kenedy County was the focus of a crowded and somewhat heated debate Monday night. Wind power is described as 'clean and cost effective energy', but it's not without its concerns. The Coastal Bend Bays Foundation hosted a forum to allow company officials to meet with the public.

The company is called PPM Energy and the project is called the Penascal Wind Farm. No one opposes the idea of wind energy, but there are concerns about the environmental impact. Those in attendance also had questions about the financial benefits the company is willing to provide.

Dozens turned out to hear PPM officials present the project that would add up to 267 turbines like to undeveloped ranch land in Kenedy County. PPM has worked on the project for nearly three years.

The company said the energy is badly needed, and despite the height, most people would never know they're there. But it's not just people that this crowd was concerned about. Turbines like these have a history of killing large numbers of birds and South Texas has plenty.

Company officials said their studies show any impact will be minimal, but many attending Monday's meeting remained unconvinced.

"There's a funnel on the Texas Coast. That's why a million broad wing hawks go over Corpus Christi, because they're all funneling down the coast," said Audubon society member Winnie Burkett. The other concern is the economics.

PPM has offered to pay $14 million to Kenedy County and to the school district instead of normal taxes. During the first 10 years... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The company is called PPM Energy and the project is called the Penascal Wind Farm. No one opposes the idea of wind energy, but there are concerns about the environmental impact. Those in attendance also had questions about the financial benefits the company is willing to provide.
 
Dozens turned out to hear PPM officials present the project that would add up to 267 turbines like to undeveloped ranch land in Kenedy County. PPM has worked on the project for nearly three years.
 
The company said the energy is badly needed, and despite the height, most people would never know they're there. But it's not just people that this crowd was concerned about. Turbines like these have a history of killing large numbers of birds and South Texas has plenty.
 
Company officials said their studies show any impact will be minimal, but many attending Monday's meeting remained unconvinced.
 
"There's a funnel on the Texas Coast. That's why a million broad wing hawks go over Corpus Christi, because they're all funneling down the coast," said Audubon society member Winnie Burkett. The other concern is the economics.
 
PPM has offered to pay $14 million to Kenedy County and to the school district instead of normal taxes. During the first 10 years of operation it would then pay $100 million over the next 20 years. But King Ranch officials argue that's still far less than other companies pay other counties.
 
"Why, number one, are other counties in West Texas getting 5, 6, or 10 times the amount of taxes for a similar-sized project? Why is Kenedy County being short-changed?" asked Dave Delaney.
 
Company officials said every case is different, but didn't openly discuss why certain air is worth more.
 
Currently in Texas, you don't need any environmental permits to start a wind farm. It's just too new. But the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife is doing a sturdy right now to find out in there is reason for concern. In the meantime, PPM Energy plans to install infrared cameras and use special radar to study the patterns of birds in the area.
 
We're told construction wouldn't begin on the wind farm until the summer or fall of 2007.


Source: http://www.kristv.com/Globa...

MAR 15 2006
http://www.windaction.org/posts/1695-residents-have-concerns-about-wind-farm
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