Library filed under Impact on Views from Texas
“Are we really going to fundamentally transform the county from this rural setting that you see to more of an industrial type complex, and I think the majority of people now are saying, ‘No that's not what we want,’ ” Baldwin said. To him, wind farms are a blight for several reasons, among them: They ruin the rural skyline, hurt land values and reduce the acreage used for agriculture.
"In 2009, we passed an ordinance that stated, wind energy turbines would only be allowed in commercial and industrial districts," said Danny Cornelius Canyon Code Enforcer Director. Even then, a specific use permit must be approved by the planning and zoning and city commission.
In the hill country where I live, there was a time when you could enjoy the blue haze from the distant hills, maybe set up a canvas to paint the sun setting behind them or just sit and watch while the color washed over them at dusk. Now those hills are dotted with wind generators churning out electricity. This pastoral scene looks nothing like the Texas kids imagined when they imagined cowboys and cattle drives.
Following a July 17 selection by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Gillespie County will be one of many counties in the state that will see new power lines in the next four to five years that will carry electricity from wind farms in West Texas and the Panhandle regions to the more metropolitan areas in Central and East Texas.
The wind blowing through Gillespie County won't be used to generate power anytime soon, that is if Robert Weatherford has his way. Weatherford is president of Save Our Scenic Hill Country, a group committed to keeping wind farms out of the Texas Hill Country. "We think that it would significantly impact the scenic beauty of this area," Weatherford said. One of the areas being considered by energy companies for wind farming was the hills north of Fredericksburg, near Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Now local governments are making their opposition to the giant wind turbines known.
Spencer Jones normally spends his day behind a desk in Garland. This weekend he's visiting Fredericksburg and the hill country. "One of the things I wanted to do was see this place," he said. He's referring to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.The giant granite dome attracts a quarter of a million visitors a year, many hike the trail to the summit. ...Robert Weatherford is the president of Save Our Scenic Hill Country, a group of land owners working to keep wind farms out of the area. "You will literally be able to see them for miles. So we do think that it would destroy the scenic beauty of the Texas hill country," Weatherford said.
County leaders are working with state legislators to change the way wind farms are regulated in Texas. Robert Weatherford is the president of Save Our Scenic Hill Country, a group of land owners working to keep wind farms out of the area. "You will literally be able to see them for miles. So we do think that it would destroy the scenic beauty of the Texas hill country," Weatherford said. ...Gillespie County is worried that would mean less visitors like Jones. "That's why people come to these places, is to see the view," Jones said.
Joel Serface, director of the Clean Energy Incubator at the University of Texas at Austin and a contributor to the report, adds that a recent University of California-Berkeley study found the solar industry produces seven to 11 times as many jobs on a MW capacity basis as coal-fired power plants - and has a larger positive trickle-down effect than wind energy
Trial of a lawsuit against FPL Energy, owner of a wind farm in Taylor and Nolan counties, has been postponed until Dec. 4. Several property owners in southwest Taylor County sued the company in February 2005 in connection with its plans then to build the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. The Horse Hollow project, with a third phase recently completed, was dedicated Thursday. FPL Energy claims Horse Hollow is the world’s largest wind farm.