Articles filed under General from Texas
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The Baryonyx Corporation's proposed South Texas offshore wind farm project will be subject to a full Environmental Impact Statement, according to a decision by the Galveston District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
But the lower price of natural gas has led to a decline in wholesale prices for electricity - which can reduce wind farm revenue. "I think it probably inhibits wind power development," Saathoff said, noting that natural gas prices have dropped by more than 50 percent since 2008. "The wind generators would make more money if natural gas prices were higher."
Court filings said that Malouff and Woodall conspired to illegally obtain up to $2 million in federal stimulus money by overselling the company's ability to deliver electricity-generating wind turbines for Jonestown.
Malouff, the founder of CM Energies and owner of CM Energies International, had said in the application that he would use $2 million of federal stimulus money to help build about 20 wind turbines in the city of Jonestown, according to an arrest affidavit. However, witnesses reported that the company could not produce the wind turbine technology and that the technology Malouff was promoting "did not exist."
Volunteer firefighters from the Elm Creek Citizens Association, Buffalo Gap and View worked until early Sunday to put out a wind turbine blaze, which fire officials said sparked a grass fire in the Callahan Divide Wind Energy Center. The fire was the second turbine blaze in the area that posed risks when the wind-powered electrical generator scattered debris in the area.
When the wind farm was built, it was developed with a temporary connection to the state's power grid. The permanent connection is now complete, and the wind farm is offline while transitioning to the new equipment, Harrison said.
Robert Bryce notes for National Review Online that on an "unspeakably hot" Aug. 24 in Texas, 10,135 megawatts of wind-generation capacity supplied just 880 megawatts of power "when electricity was needed the most" -- in the afternoon, when wind subsides while heat and electricity demand rise.
"We have hundreds of employees who have spent their entire professional careers at Luminant and its predecessor companies," Luminant CEO David Campbell said in a statement. "...we have tried to minimize these impacts, and it truly saddens me that we are being compelled to take the actions we've announced today."
The state is spending billions on projects that focus on wind energy rather than on conventional generation capacity. Consumers will soon be paying for new transmission lines that are being built solely so that the subsidy-dependent wind-energy profiteers can move electricity ...Further, consider what might be happening had the state kept the $6.79 billion it's now spending on wind-energy transmission lines and instead allocated it to new natural-gas-fired generators.
"We need more tourism if we are to survive the apprehensive world economy, but erecting a monstrosity of this ilk is a transgression of an area of outstanding beauty, indicating to tourists when they cross the border at Carter Bar that we do not care for our precious countryside," adds Mr Smith.