By Ryan Henry, Island Breeze
The former chief executive officer of Superior Renewable Energy says plans for a major offshore wind farm near Padre Island could sink before the first turbine is ever placed in the Gulf of Mexico.
“The economics today don’t work,” said John Calaway, the former CEO. “It’s underwater. The numbers just don’t work right now.”
Although equipment depreciates in five years, wind farms inland offer a different financial outlook and already represent a vi-able alternative to coal-burning power plants, Calaway said.
“We intend to build some substantial onshore wind facilities,” Calaway said, including a farm in Kenedy County inland from the proposed offshore site.
The United States has no offshore wind facilities “to date,” Calaway said. “There are, though, a number of these projects in Europe that are in the offshore and currently producing (energy).”
Calaway gave the proposal to develop the offshore wind farm near the Padre Island National Seashore only a 30 percent chance of getting approval from Babcock & Brown Renewable Holding Inc. because of the economics involved.
Babcock & Brown, an Australian company, purchased Superior Renewable Energy LLC this summer. Calaway will lead the group’s operations in organic energy development.
However, if the proposal succeeds, the first offshore turbines could start appearing within the next seven to eight years, Calaway said.
Officials at the Texas General Land Office are excited about renewable energy, especially offshore wind farms.
GLO Commissioner Jerry Patterson said the state has bid for a proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy to construct a large-scale wind turbine research and development station on the Texas coast.
“The race for wind energy is like a modern day space race,” Patterson said in a prepared statement last month. “In Texas, our program is go for launch. We’re charging ahead to bring a large-scale turbine testing facility to the Texas coast.
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