Library filed under Safety from Texas
Renewable energy developer, Innergex, will not be building wind farms near Sheppard Air Force Base ...[wind energy development] continues to be an ongoing issue in Texas and Oklahoma. In fact, Sheppard Air Force Base has already lost three low-level training routes in Oklahoma due to wind turbines.
A Canadian-based wind industry operator has pulled out of a potential fight with the Air Force over locating a proposed wind farm near the Sheppard Air Force base in Wichita Falls, Texas.
After information campaigns from the base and Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC) about how the developments would negatively impact Sheppard’s training routes, the company removing themselves from the permitting process – meaning their interest in the area is essentially over.
The turbines ran for three months before one blade fell to the ground 190 feet below. Then a second blade crashed through a nearby storage building's roof, falling into a conference room. No one was hurt. The city asked the builders to remove the contraption and rebuild it. That happened. Then another blade came loose.
It took crews from Scurry County EMS, Snyder Fire Department, and the Scurry County Sheriff's Office to retrieve Hubbard from the turbine. He was pronounced dead at Cogdell Memorial Hospital, the Daily News reported.
Rapp said when the turbine and tower fell to the ground, operators shut down the 119-turbine Shannon Wind Farm as a precaution. They were eventually able to restart the remaining turbines a couple days after the incident.
Last Friday, a wind turbine failed at midpoint and fell to the ground just approximately 5 miles southeast of Windthorst on Oliver Wells Road just inside the Clay County line.This is the Shannon Wind Farm E-03 to E-04, managed by Alterra Power Corp.
The turbine that collapsed is part of the 204 MW Shannon Wind facility in Windthorst town, Clay County, Texas. The project includes 119 General Electric (GE) wind turbines. Each turbine is 1.7 MW with a rotor diameter of 103 meters The project was placed in service in December 2015 and is jointly owned by Alterra Power (50%) and an affiliate of Starwood Energy Group (50%).
"Maintaining the ability to train Naval Aviators (sic) requires a safe operating environment with adequate airspace ... and supporting infrastructure such as outlying landing fields and weapons ranges," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Balocki. "Continued development may eventually overcome our ability to operationally adapt or consider feasible and affordable mitigation actions."
The incident involved a 1.7 MW GE turbine at the Shannon (204 MW) wind facility outside of Windthorst TX which was placed in service December 2015.
Officials with Southern Company, which owns the turbine, said it started around 5:30 p.m. at the company's Salt Fork Wind Facility.
There was another fire at an operating wind plant in Texas. The turbine was part of the 174 MW Salt Fork Wind project, located in Donley and Gray Counties, east of Amarillo. The 87 Vestas V100 (2.0 MW) wind turbines was installed by EDF Renewables and placed into service in December 2016. EDF Renewables sold the facility to the Southern Company. Photos courtesy of Greg Hendricks.
Lieutenant Colonel Matt Manning says the biggest danger comes within 25 miles because that's when training aircraft are at their lowest altitudes as they're being brought back by air traffic controllers to base.
Legislation to limit tax incentives to build wind power plants near Texas military aviation facilities cleared the Texas House on Monday, despite determined opposition from conservative property-rights advocates and many Democrats in the state’s urban centers.
We must do everything we can to protect our military communities from the next round of base closures. With 15 military installations in Texas, our state has a huge target on its back. If encroaching wind farms make it harder to meet training goals, Texas will have to surrender jobs and missions to other states where wind turbines do not pose a problem. That would be a devastating blow to the cities that have developed around our bases, and I have no plans to surrender such assets.
Mayor Santellana said that he wants to see the military grow and not shrink. He added that anything that affects Sheppard affects the city and they will do whatever they have to, to stop it.
Col. Manning is the latest in a litany of Texas military leaders appearing before the state Legislature asking for help. Capt. Mark McLaughlin, former commanding officer at Naval Air Station Kingsville, started the parade when in 2011 he appeared numerous times before various committees pointing out the concern he had with wind farm developments around his base.
Since the mid-1960s, pilots at Sheppard Air Force Base have made supersonic training flights over the Texas Red River Valley, a region sufficiently remote that mostly cattle ranchers and oil riggers caught sight of the small planes known as "white rockets" as they streaked across the horizon. But North Texas has changed over a half-century. Wichita Falls, where Sheppard remains a leading employer and a major military flight school, today claims nearly 105,000 residents and is the center of Texas' 19th-largest metropolitan area.
AUSTIN - When 39-year-old twin brothers Jimmy and Joe Horn set out to build up to 80 wind turbines near Wichita Falls, the energy developers didn’t envision the blowback they would encounter from a powerful neighbor — the United States Air Force.