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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 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.
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.
Comptroller Combs will hear criticism from the Texas Wind Industry folks and green energy advocates, but she made the right call in recommending against the tax abatement application with Bishop ISD. Until technical mitigation is proven, it would be unwise to allow the construction of wind turbines within 25 miles of NAS Corpus Christi, NAS Kingsville and the Corpus Christi International Airport.
District Superintendent Christina Gutierrez said the school board has opposed tax incentives because economic losses from military cutbacks or closures could outweigh gains from the wind farm. The Kingsville base employed 597 military and 1,224 civilian personnel in 2010.
The uncertainty surrounding the Petronila project underscores new efforts to reduce interference between wind farms and military radar, which emerged in the past two years as a hurdle for wind developers in South Texas. Wind turbines can create radar images that prevent air traffic controllers from seeing aircraft in certain areas.
EC&R Development is proposing the construction of a wind power electric generation facility in Nueces County Texas. EC&R Development is an active franchise taxpayer, as required by Texas Tax Code Section 313.024(a) and is in good standing. After reviewing the application using the criteria listed in Section 313.026 and the information provided by EC&R Development, the Comptroller's recommendation is that EC&R Development's application under Tax Code Chapter 313 not be approved.
A Spanish company planning to expand its wind farm in Kenedy County scrapped its idea, according to Austin Energy, which had planned to buy up to 200 megawatts of the expanded facility's generating capacity.