Future wind farm projects in Clay County might have to be put on hold after new regulations were recently put in place. Energy producers are now required to notify the Department of Defense and complete a "screening study" before connecting to the Texas power.
Members of Sheppard Air Force Base have voiced their concerns about how the wind towers located less than twenty-five miles away could impact their radar during flight training missions. There are worries that if Sheppards’ missions are impacted they could be moved to another base.
In 2015 the first of the Clay County wind farms the Shannon Wind Power Project was completed. There are now nearly 120 turbines that stand hundreds of feet tall within a 17-mile section of the Shannon community in Clay County. Some of Shannon residents say the farm has negatively impacted their way of life.
"The problem for us as landowners is two-fold one you've got the visual which okay but two and more importantly for me whether you've got your back to it or not you can hear it, it's extremely loud," said Mark Wells who lives less than immediately south of the Clay County Shannon Wind Power Project.
Wells and his family have lived in Clay County on the same plot of land for generations. While he's happy to know that future projects will be put on hold he's not too optimist that the towers already exerted north of his property will remain for some time.
"If we get the word out, change public opinion, get away from the idea that in the name of green power we need to violate people's personal and property rights maybe it'll prevent this from happening to somebody else," said Wells.
Like Wells, Becky Johnson is another landowner in southern Clay County. While Johnson is not as close to the farm as Wells is she can still see a line of turbines four miles away just west of her home.
"It just makes me sad that my sunsets and my horizons are forever changed, I thought well okay I won't be able to see them but there they are," said Johnson.
Many of the landowners with turbines on their actual property allowed the towers to be constructed after signing leases with Alterra Energy Corp. The County |
Judge has said in past interviews more turbines could bring in millions of dollars to the county, but Johnson does not think the towers benefit anyone especially not landowners like her.
"I hope that the military operation has put a halt to this and put a halt to it and maybe these people promoting the Blue Groves and Buyers windfarms maybe they will just go away," said Johnson.