Library filed under General from Texas
Columnist Chris Tomlinson’s recent attack on Rep. Dan Crewshaw (R-TX) for repeating “tired talking points” about the silliness of wind and solar was itself filled with unsubstantiated and misleading declarations beginning with Tomlinson’s claim that wind and solar employ 143,000 Texans.
At issue: A Chinese-backed project called Blue Hills Wind, which could bring more than 40 turbines to Val Verde County, Texas. The proposal's future is in doubt as the Trump administration ramps up criticism of both renewable energy and China.
Exactly how the Devils River got its forbidding name is lost to history, but there is little doubt the harsh terrain and fierce natives who once reigned here played a role. “It is far from any habitation, in a barren waste surrounded by hostile Comanches, but it is a beautiful place,” noted one early visitor. A century and a half later, the natural beauty remains and the rushing, spring-fed Devils owns the reputation as the last unspoiled river in Texas.
Beginning in 2015, GH America Investment Group purchased over 130,000 acres of property in Val Verde County (Texas). GH America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Xinjiang-based Guanghui Industry Investment Group. ...Aside from gathering intelligence on U.S. border security operations and plugging into Texas’ critical infrastructure, China could use Sun’s wind farm as cover to collect intelligence on nearby Laughlin Air Force Base.
AEP has received three of the five necessary approvals for its planned $2 billion investment — from Oklahoma, Arkansas and FERC — and expects decisions in May or June from regulators in Louisiana and Texas.
“Laughlin is facing a different threat because it’s a Chinese company that is seeking to erect these wind farms, and China’s national security interests are directly contrary to the United States’ national security interests. There is, relatedly, a serious concern with surveillance. China has invested heavily in expanding its ability to engage in surveillance and to gather intelligence. ...“With regard to Del Rio, these Chinese towers, if constructed, pose a threat not only to air training, but also of potential security vulnerabilities, and both of those are serious concerns. I have been working and look forward to continue working with local leaders here to prevent those threats,” Cruz added.
Matagorda County Commissioners are expected to authorize County Judge Nate McDonald to sign a letter to Peyton Creek Wind Farm regarding county permits.
An inconvenient truth is hanging over Georgetown, Texas: Its celebrated shift to renewable energy doesn’t look like a national model these days. Electric rates are up. Critics are blasting the costs. And the city north of Austin is trying to figure out how to mitigate the situation.
In the wide-open spaces of Val Verde County lies the Devils River, one of the last pristine, wild rivers in Texas. Recently, it was at the center of a monthslong negotiation. "Absolutely. It's a major win for us and for future generations of Texas and for anyone else who cares about the wide-open spaces in our state,” explained Julie Lewey, with the Devils River Conservancy.
“I know two people that want to do this and live in the county,” Commissioner Dennis DeWitt told county leaders last week. “One of them is a large landowner. They more or less have been promised wind generators on their property. “Everybody else in the northern part of the county does not want these to go in. So if and when it comes to commissioners, we will make an appropriate decision.”
Texas is the nation’s leader in commercial wind power, while Louisiana remains on the sidelines. Harnessing the wind has taken off in the last decade. But the Pelican State’s wind speeds, regulatory framework, abundant natural gas, and opposition from farmers and others, along with the industry’s technical obstacles, have kept projects from launching. Ironically, companies in Louisiana, however, provide expertise and equipment to wind installations in other states.
“This is an industry that is costing taxpayers millions and the general public deserves to be fully aware of its cost,” Ryan said. Ryan’s message was heard at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature. More than 100 legislators attended.
These structures have a high-tech twist, say officials with the wind farm’s owner, Acciona Energy. ...The soil anchors are 40 to 60 feet deep, and not only solidify the wind turbine foundations but they allow construction crews to create a smaller footprint for the platforms.
The Devils River Conservancy, is spearheading the “Don’t Blow It” campaign to advocate for thoughtful regulation of wind energy development — an industry quickly expanding in rural Texas, largely without rules and with serious negative implications for Texans.
Georgetown officials will try to renegotiate the city’s renewable energy contracts and find other cost cuts after a late-summer drop in energy market prices lost the city’s utility $6.84 million.
“It’s my impression, that something was done wrong, incorrectly, illegally, inappropriately, that’s what this is saying. We had a beautiful place to live, now we’re looking at 12, 500-foot tall industrial wind turbine towers on one side of our house and on the other side there’s 100-foot tall transmission line towers — we were never notified of any of this. When the surveyors came onto our property they wouldn’t tell me who they were or what they were doing there. I found out from one town employee, they were from the wind project, we never received a thing about this. What the project was, the scope, implications, impacts. That’s what I’m saying, this is my impression.”
The 300 megawatt Sage Draw Wind farm — which is selling electricity to Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) under a power purchase agreement with the farm’s owner, Denmark-based Ørsted — is set to draw $22.56 million in tax incentives over the course of 10 years.
Texas has virtually no rules of any kind, making it an unregulated haven that attracts even more growth from the wind industry here. That worries some who fear what today’s rush will mean for the future.
Detractors of the project said the county needs to consider the cost to resident and the benefit they will receive in return. Chapter 312 of the Texas Tax Code was enacted to bring jobs to Texas, which allows taxpayers incentivize development via their local governments, the development brings jobs, and taxpayers benefit with employment opportunities and increased tax revenue.
About 40 attended the forum at the Brownwood High School auditorium, and several went forward, at the invitation of moderator and Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes, to give opinions — mostly against — on wind energy. May landowner Joe Guidry was an exception, saying those opposed to wind farms “have a biased agenda based on a multitude of different platforms.”