Library from Texas
Considering the many tax benefits which the wind industry is granted, it is somewhat surprising how few local jobs are created in either their construction or their operations. ...After taking advantage of these generous federal, state, and local tax abatements, these companies typically file valuation lawsuits against local county appraisal districts in an attempt to drastically lower their property taxes. This is almost always done immediately after their tax abatements expire.
At issue: A Chinese-backed project called Blue Hills Wind, which could bring more than 40 turbines to Val Verde County, Texas. The proposal's future is in doubt as the Trump administration ramps up criticism of both renewable energy and China.
Since Laughlin pumps an estimated $2 billion a year into Val Verde County’s economy, elected officials are eyeing the proposed wind farm project with trepidation. “My position, and probably the county’s, is that if it affects Laughlin Air Force Base, and hampers their ability to perform their mission, we are going to oppose it,” said County Commissioner Beau Nettleton. “I’m all for private property rights, but we have to protect the one thing that is the economic engine for Del Rio,” he added.
It started Monday afternoon and was still considered active Friday morning, according to the Sweetwater Fire Chief Grant Madden. ...The wildfire continued to run for at least five miles and has burned more than 3,200 acres destroying land in its path.
BRADY — Multiple wildfires have scorched thousands of acres across the Concho Valley in the past three days fueled by dry brush and temperatures reaching above 100 degrees.
SWEETWATER, TX — A wind turbine in Nolan County sparked a wildfire Monday just north of FM 89 near the county line.
NOLAN COUNTY, Texas — Firefighters battled a wildfire in Nolan County. Sweetwater Fire Chief said the Game Ranch Fire, located just north of FM 89 near the Nolan/Taylor County line, was sparked by a wind turbine. As of Monday evening, the fire had burned 1,500 acres, and was 30-percent contained. The Texas A&M Forest Service is working with Sweetwater FD, Lake Sweetwater VFD, Mulberry Canyon VFD and Nolan County VFD to put out the fire.
There is concern that a project with ties to the Chinese Communist Party in such close proximity to the area where these pilots are training could threaten our competitive edge and our national security.
On July 2, the Public Utility Commission of Texas denied a request by AEP affiliate Southwestern Electric Power Co. to use its Texas customers' rates to finance the acquisition of a giant wind farm complex in Oklahoma ...The three-member Texas commission said the project didn't lay out clear enough benefits to consumers to justify their up-front investment. While some big companies have championed renewable energy, the farm had been opposed by major Texas consumer groups.
Exactly how the Devils River got its forbidding name is lost to history, but there is little doubt the harsh terrain and fierce natives who once reigned here played a role. “It is far from any habitation, in a barren waste surrounded by hostile Comanches, but it is a beautiful place,” noted one early visitor. A century and a half later, the natural beauty remains and the rushing, spring-fed Devils owns the reputation as the last unspoiled river in Texas.
Beginning in 2015, GH America Investment Group purchased over 130,000 acres of property in Val Verde County (Texas). GH America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Xinjiang-based Guanghui Industry Investment Group. ...Aside from gathering intelligence on U.S. border security operations and plugging into Texas’ critical infrastructure, China could use Sun’s wind farm as cover to collect intelligence on nearby Laughlin Air Force Base.
A pair of large wind energy facilities proposed in Clay, Jack and Montague counties would wreak havoc on the whooping cranes that pass through the area as part of their migratory pattern, according to a wildlife group. That’s the assessment of wildlife biologist Jennifer Blair of Blair Wildlife Consulting, who was hired by the North Texas Heritage Association to study the plans offered by Apex Clean Energy and EDF Renewables.
AEP has received three of the five necessary approvals for its planned $2 billion investment — from Oklahoma, Arkansas and FERC — and expects decisions in May or June from regulators in Louisiana and Texas.
The North Texas Heritage Association has sent demand letters to two energy companies planning wind farms in Clay, Montague and Jack counties. Landowners are concerned the miles of large wind turbines will disrupt an endangered bird, the Whooping Crane, that migrate through these counties twice a year. NTHA had a study done on this and principal biologist Jennifer Blair found that these wind turbines would kill some of these birds Or disrupt their habitat.
The North Texas Heritage Association sent this letter to APEX Clean Energy raising serious concerns over APEX's proposed project, Black Angus, and the threat to whooping crane populations. The Black Angus project and an unrelated wind project abutting it, will obstruct the centerline of the whooping cranes migratory corridor, putting at risk the sparse whooping crane population currently standing at only 505 in the wild. At minimum, the Heritage Association requests that APEX follow federal guidelines to adhere to environmental law, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as follow the procedure for obtaining an incidental take permit (ITP) from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Preferably, the Heritage Association recommends that the project be moved to a less environmentally sensitive location. An excerpt of the letter is provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page.
Apex Clean Energy and EDF Renewables have each proposed large wind energy facilities to be situated in Clay County, Texas. The project locations fall squarely within the Whooping Crane migratory corridor and are recognized as stop-over habitat for the birds. Wildlife biologist, Jennifer Blair of Blair Wildlife Consulting, prepared this assessment of the likely impacts to Whooping Crane if the projects are constructed. The report also provides a useful summary of the extent to which wind energy development has been allowed to penetrate the limited migration corridor of Whooping Cranes. A short excerpt of the Blair report is provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page.
“I could smell an electrical type smell for a good while, and my mom smelled it too,” Gregory resident Dolores Moreno said. “I was looking at our own house going room to room thinking it was coming from our home since the smell was pretty strong. A while later I heard the sirens so I knew it wasn’t us.” She also said that she heard someone saying that just before the blaze, they could hear a noise coming from the turbine.
Developers of transmission projects that would send wind power from rural Wyoming and New Mexico to cities in California and Arizona made their cases at this year’s Western Planning Regions Annual Interregional Coordination Meeting on Feb. 27. ...Cost allocation remains a big question. The projects are merchant-driven and haven’t been fully embraced by CAISO and other planners yet, but developers think California’s ambitious climate policies will demonstrate their importance. “There’s been very little planning activity on these because of the absence of regional need seen through these projects.
“Laughlin is facing a different threat because it’s a Chinese company that is seeking to erect these wind farms, and China’s national security interests are directly contrary to the United States’ national security interests. There is, relatedly, a serious concern with surveillance. China has invested heavily in expanding its ability to engage in surveillance and to gather intelligence. ...“With regard to Del Rio, these Chinese towers, if constructed, pose a threat not only to air training, but also of potential security vulnerabilities, and both of those are serious concerns. I have been working and look forward to continue working with local leaders here to prevent those threats,” Cruz added.