Library from Texas
The proposed wind farm had significant resistance from the Navy over the last year, but recently the Navy has "stood down" as nationally our current administration has issued the call for the Navy to be "greener." The initial Navy resistance was based on the fact that wind farms cause radar interference ...The agreement calls for a "new unproven technology" that essentially "dumbs down" the high tech radar system. Now that makes sense.
Charlie Malouff Jr., founder of CM Energies, and Mary Jo Woodall, a former state comptroller's office staffer and grant administrator, are accused of conspiring to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money by overselling CM Energies' ability to deliver the electricity-generating wind turbines to the City of Jonestown.
The Navy signed an agreement with a wind farm developer Thursday that paves the way for 83 turbines to be built near Riviera, over the objections of local officials.
The Sinton City Council is expected to meet tonight to consider firing the city manager and city secretary amid a dispute between the city and Sinton school district over a wind turbine project.
The dispute over wind turbines at Sinton High School appears to have taken a stark political turn, with Sinton City Manager Jackie Knoxsaying he expects to be fired Tuesday because of school officials influencing the City Council.
Kingsville already passed a resolution stating its opposition to the wind farm, citing worries that it could interfere with radar at area military bases, rendering them more vulnerable to closure when the Defense Department reassesses its inventory of bases.
While some council members have tried to let the district's plan move forward, other members and city officials are upset that the district didn't approach the city about the project in 2009 when it was first being considered. They feel the district tried to ram the project through City Hall without deference to neighboring property owners and city officials.
Kingsville officials oppose a planned wind farm near Rivera. They are concerned about potential interference with Navy radar. I say these concerns are well founded. The turbines north of Nueces Bay definitely interfere with FAA radar right here in Corpus Christi.
Kingsville city officials are opposing a planned wind farm near Riviera over fears that the turbines would interfere military radar, but a Navy base commander said he is pleased with steps the developer took to reduce conflicts.
A controversial wind turbine project never made it to a vote at the Sinton City Council on Tuesday night after the council's attorney said state law doesn't give them authority to overturn the decision of a city board.
Resolution #2012-14 was adopted by the City of Kingsville through a unanimous vote of its City Commission. The resolution states the City of Kingsville opposes the construction of industrial wind turbines (wind farms) in the City of Kingsville and in Kleberg County. The full resolution can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
The first public meeting on the project is planned for March 28 in Brownsville. The Corps is accepting public comments that will help define the scope of its environmental study, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2014. Environmental groups are tracking the project and have raised concerns about the turbines' effects on birds and sea life.
"The issue of renewable energy development has been polarized in recent months across the country," said Russel Smith, director of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association. "Anybody paying attention who is politically oriented and motivated will be aware of that. As a result, in many local communities, the effort to put some restrictions is the first thing that happens" when a wind project is proposed.
At a City Council meeting Tuesday night, City Manager Jackie Knox quoted from a Texas Attorney General's opinion in 2009 that says cities may enforce land development regulations against a school district for aesthetics or to maintain property values. "We feel the attorney general's interpretation is what we have to go by," Knox said.
The Sinton Independent School District will move forward with plans to build two wind turbines at the high school campus despite the city's rejection of zoning variances for the project last week.
Gusts of more than 55 mph can damage a wind turbine and become a safety concern, said AJ Swope, the executive director of Class 4 Winds & Renewables. "The turbines will shut themselves down because they can't handle that amount of wind," Swope said.
Texas has a commanding lead over other states in wind power production, as turbines supply 8 percent of the state grid's power. But the looming expiration of a federal tax credit jeopardizes the boom - and Texas' congressional delegation, for the most part, does not appear to be clamoring loudly to save it.
Residents were divided over the project. It would have offered the district electricity savings and real-world learning for math and science students, but it also was unappealing to some residents worried about the visual impact and noise. The Sinton Independent School District sought variances from a city ordinance adopted last year that regulates wind turbine construction.
The Navy is developing new radar technology and studying wind turbine formations in hopes of finding ways to mitigate the problem. However, the Navy said it will take time and is asking green energy developers to move slowly.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas issued its latest quarterly report last week on the progress of wiring West Texas to deliver wind energy to metropolitan areas, and it shows the project first estimated to cost ratepayers downstate $5 billion will now run closer to $7 billion.