Friday, May 12, 2006

Big windfarm planned for Texas

Kudos to Texas for thinking big, as usual.

A proposal to build the biggest offshore wind farm in the nation won approval yesterday from Texas state officials, the latest development in the fast-growing segment of the alternative-energy industry.

Texas General Land Office, which manages state lands and mineral rights, said yesterday that it reached an agreement granting Superior Renewable Energy the rights to 39,900 acres of submerged lands in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast of Padre Island and south of Baffin Bay. The big wind turbines, expected to number more than 100, will be erected as few as three and as many as eight miles offshore.

The Houston company, headed by the former executive of a small oil company, said it plans to build 500 megawatts of capacity, enough to power a small city or about 125,000 homes. But the firm's executive vice president and general counsel Michael Hansen said it will probably be about four years before construction begins.

This is serious money: the project will take four to five years to complete, at a cost of $1 billion to $2 billion.

There are the usual environmental concerns: The wind farm is astride a major migratory bird route. That's a legitimate problem, but surely we can develop ways to keep birds away from the blades. Eventually I'd like to see some sort of cost-comparison for wind farms, quantifying the benefits of reduced pollution against the threat to wildlife. On the plus side, the lease agreement contains tough standards for protecting birds, according to consumer watchdog Public Citizen.

Consider this a test case for offshore wind power generation. If it goes well, wind could become a significant source of power over the next decade.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dyre42 said...

I don't think Texas could bear being second in wind energy. Particularly since California is number one.

5/12/2006 11:29 PM  
Blogger Sean Aqui said...

LOL! Well, if that's what it takes to develop projects like this, I'll take it.

5/13/2006 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes. Kudos to my home state.....TEXAS! Too bad the Massachusett snob....Ted Kennedy....won't hear of having them in his backyard blocking the view from his vacation home. Oh well, we all know Teddy wants to tell the rest of us what to drive and how to live....while he lives like he wants to. I think I'll write him and brag on what Texas is doing to improve the energy situation!!
JP5

5/13/2006 4:20 PM  

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