Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Texas
For the last decade, when most people have thought of renewable energy in Texas, they have usually thought of wind. But this year, solar and other forms of renewable energy are starting to get a place at the table at the Legislature. Legislation including incentives and rebates could pave the way ...Today, legislators and environmentalists will hold statewide news conferences to draw attention to solar energy.
Garland is the latest North Texas city considering a zoning ordinance aimed at regulating wind energy devices that generate power for residential use. The measure is on Tuesday's council agenda. Other cities, including Grand Prairie, Waxahachie and Oak Point, already have such ordinances. Residential wind energy devices are rare in urban areas and may be too expensive or impractical for many homeowners. But city officials say they want to make sure rules are in place for the day when wind energy devices become more commonplace.
[A] BP representative explained that the project could be phased in with 60 windmills possibly becoming available next year, and the remaining 40 coming some time later. Of the 60 windmills, David Gonzalez said, the majority are planned in Archer County.The change in the proposal was not met with enthusiasm by commissioners. ..."The prospect of an abatement has been based on a 250 megawatt buildout," Precinct 2 Commissioner John C. Bullock said. "The prospect of a phase in was not mentioned. If we had know that, it likely would have been different."
State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, holds a hearing next month in Austin on the pros and cons of regulating where wind turbines can be erected. ...The hearing begins at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 6 in the Betty King Room of the Texas Capitol.
A 155-turbine wind farm in Livingston County likely will be recommended when the Livingston County Zoning Board of Appeals reconvenes Monday. Iberdrola Renewables has proposed the Streator-Cayuga Ridge South Wind Farm, which would be spread across 15,000 acres in between Odell and Emington. Hearings that stretched over weeks ended Thursday with Iberdrola's closing arguments and a review of possible special conditions to be attached to the project recommendation.
[Gary] Key said as a community where newcomers flock to the countryside in search of escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life, they need to look toward the future. "After 38 years in real estate, I can say we have to think about what Erath County has to offer. We have to think about the future and quality housing," Key said. "Those moving from more populated metropolitan areas looking for an escape and quality housing will likely not want that in the shadows of the turbines. Let's not hurt our property values" ...Key said transforming the face of Erath to an industrial county, moving away from the rural/residential image people are escaping to, would likely be detrimental to future development and possibly do more harm than good in the long run. "In 20 or 30 years, we would be looking more like an industrial park," Key said. "No longer the community we once were."
Billionaire T. Boone Pickens may face a tough crowd this week in North Texas. Officials with Pickens' company Mesa Power will be in two local cities to hold informational sessions about the company's plans to build a water pipeline and electricity transmission lines from the Panhandle to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, cutting through several area counties. ...Beesinger said property owners seem to be most concerned with the way the project was designed without their knowledge or input. "(Pickens) didn't say, ‘Let's go explore the issue with these people first,' " Beesinger said. "When you start throwing out those words (eminent domain), people are going to stand up and say, ‘Hey! Whoa! Wait a minute!' That's the way we as Texans and Americans are. We like to protect what's ours." ...many people will view the open houses as a too little, too late approach. "I think the biggest thing (Mesa) has to overcome is the private landowners saying, ‘You didn't even come and talk to me,' " Beesinger said. "(The company is saying), ‘Now, you can attend this meeting if you want to, but we're going to do the project anyway.' "
...when a wind farm was proposed for Northwest Parker County offering royalties and bonuses similar to those being paid by gas producers, many locals took notice. However, one resident who attended an informational meeting at Poolville, hosted by international conglomerate PPM Energy, hopes the company takes their windmills elsewhere. Tom Butt, a retiree with a small farm and private airstrip near Whitt, says there are two red flags that were raised as the company recruited landowners for windmill sites at the recent meeting.
Commissioners voted Monday to clear the way for a series of industrial sized wind generators to be built in the Wolf Ridge area, located northwest of Gainesville. In business, the Commissioners voted 4-0 to accept a roadwork proposal from the Wolf Ridge Wind Project to prepare certain county roads for large trucks to haul parts and equipment for the titan wind turbines. ...David Tenan of the Wolf Ridge Wind Project said with trailers hauling parts for the 125,000-pound nacelles a greater turning radius would be necessary than what is currently available on the mostly gravel country roads.
Ian Krygowski, a representative for enXco returns to Tuesday night's Mower County Planning Commission meeting. Krygowski is enXco's project manager for a wind energy project in Pleasant Valley and Grand Meadow townships. Twice before, Krygowski has been before the planning commission and once he has made a presentation to the Mower County Board of Commissioners. Each time, Krygowski has won over both critics of the wind energy project and county officials with his willingness to re-examine the enXco conditional use permit petitions to satisfy critics' concerns.
Wind energy has become a hot-button issue in Brown County since the Roadrunner Windfarm was proposed last year by Renewable Energy Systems Inc. The proposed $450 million project will involve Brown, Comanche and Mills counties and include 150 turbines. Only 15-20 are expected to be located in southeast Brown County, and construction could begin in 2009. Comanche and Mills counties have approved tax abatement agreements with RES, but Brown County commissioners have yet to approve the request. ... Burns said the taxpayers will bear the burden of the turbines if the industry dries up and blows away. "The legions of losers are the taxpayers," Burns continued. "This is the most important decision Brown County will ever make. Let's tell Germany and England: Don't mess with Brown County."
Mary Wells of FPL Energy said this past week that all the wind turbines will be located in Cooke County, although there will be a few in the Saint Jo School District, which crosses into Cooke County. ...Wells said where wind turbines are not as well known, there are often lots of questions, unlike in West Texas where they are more common. "Very frequently people have questions we can satisfy, but some you can't reconcile. It is not unusual at all to face tough questions. If it is accepted, it can be a welcome experience. Sometimes it can't be resolved, but it is not a reason why we would not build," explained Wells. Saint Jo area residents rose up in protest about the wind turbine project with neighbors in conflict with each other. A citizen's advocacy group was formed and the city of Saint Jo enacted ordinances prohibiting their location in the city limits or extraterritorial jurisdiction. A lawsuit filed by a group of citizens from both counties seeking a temporary injunction to halt the wind farm production is still pending in the 235th District Court. Wells said in that suit an agreement has been reached and both sides are working out the details.
Jasper County first advertised for bids to develop a wind power project in July of 2002. The county received two bids, one from Pecos Renewable Energy (PRE) and one from RES North America. After review and recommendation by the county's attorneys Mark Morgan and Thane Adkins, the court unanimously voted on Oct. 23, 2002, to accept PRE's bid. Five years ago wind energy was a relatively new enterprise to Texans, but in 2006 Texas surpassed California to become the nation's leader in wind capacity. ...If PRE can prove they have met the milestones of the contract, they may co-develop a wind farm with their named collaborator, Suzlon Wind Energy, the fifth-leading wind turbine supplier in the world. Or they can flip their lease and sell to another energy company, in which case Jasper County would receive royalties as development occurs. But unless the contract is terminated and Jasper has an opportunity to seek a new energy partner, PRE has the county's hands tied for the next 25 years (with automatic renewal for 10 more years) with no contractual obligation to produce anything.
Applause filled the Gillespie County Commissioners' Courtroom Thursday after commissioners passed a resolution opposing wind farms in Gillespie County. Signed by Gillespie County Judge Mark Stroeher and all four commissioners, the document states the court's opposition to "the construction and installation of industrial wind farms in Gillespie County and the surrounding Hill Country area." Stroeher said that the Llano City Council had recently passed a similar resolution to the one approved during the meeting, which had been moved up from its originally scheduled date on Christmas Eve.
Planning Board Chairman Jamie Reinhardt acknowledged Tuesday that townspeople have been voicing a "good deal of criticism" about the board's decision to hold its public hearing on the board's proposed wind-turbine bylaw during Thursday night's winter storm. "We asked him to cancel it and he didn't," Selectman Chairman John Tynan said. "It was unprofessional." Reinhardt made no apologies, however, saying he has exerted extra effort to inform all residents about what happened during the meeting. Delaying the hearing, he said, would have posed an inconvenience to the people who did make it to the fire station on Thursday and would have further delayed the process of adopting or rejecting the proposed bylaw. ...A bylaw requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass. "We're determined to present our bylaw and put it to rest," Reinhardt said. "If both fail, we would believe that it is the opinion of the people of Savoy that wind turbines are not desirable in the town."
A massive wind farm project in Gray County is on hold today because County Commissioners decided more information is needed. The wind farm is proposed by T. Boone Pickens, who would like Northern Gray County to be designated as a reinvestment zone so they can apply for a tax abatement. ..."So many people here that have built Gray County and they've paid their taxes, year, after year, after year. I just feel like Mr. Pickens and his wind farm machine, I think he ought to pay his fair share of taxes if he's going to come in here." said Kathleene Greene of Pampa.
Howard County commissioners approved a trio of reinvestment zones necessary to grant tax abatements Monday morning, moving forward with negotiations with several wind energy developers that could lead to an estimated 400 to 500 new turbines being erected in the county. Commissioners met with Terry Wegman, executive director for Moore Development, who is serving as a liaison between the wind energy developers and local taxing entities for the purpose of establishing reinvestment zones, and ultimately, negotiating tax abatements for several proposed projects. The court approved reinvestment zones A, B and C, following a public hearing that drew comments from only a single property owner. ..."Even the smaller developments - the smallest one is 36 megawatts - will be putting up quite a few turbines. I think we're looking at between 400 and 500 turbines at this point, but that's nothing more than a rough estimate."
In a bid to block two large wind energy projects on the South Texas coast, an alliance of environmental groups and landowners is taking aim at the high-voltage transmission line required for the project. The wind farms represent a $1 billion investment in a remote corner of the Kenedy Ranch.
Pickens, a Roberts County rancher and Dallas businessman, created Mesa Energy to build a 4,000-megawatt wind farm in northern Gray County and southern Roberts County. In addition to the wind farm, Mesa plans a 750-megawatt coal-fired plant to supply energy when the wind isn't blowing and a 600-megawatt natural gas-fired plant to handle peak loads......."I'm not having any turbines on my ranch," Pickens said candidly. "I think they're ugly is the reason I won't have any." But he said he has neighbors who've told him that they may be ugly to him, but the turbines look like money to his neighbors.
TXU Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell said Friday they plan to build a massive wind farm in the Panhandle. The companies are not saying how much they will invest, who will own the wind farm and when, exactly, they might start building the project. They're also not saying who will supply the windmills. Here's what they've revealed: Shell WindEnergy Inc. and TXU's Luminant will develop the 3,000 megawatt wind farm in Briscoe County. That equates to about 1,000 wind turbines.