Residents of Jack and surrounding counties nearly filled a school auditorium Monday to hear speakers presented by a group opposing wind turbines in the region.
Jack County Concerned Landowners, which hosted the forum, invited residents of Archer, Cooke, Montague, Palo Pinto, Wichita, Wise and Young counties to attend.
Arguing against development of wind energy were Jack Hunt, president and CEO of King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, Thomas Hewson, an energy and environmental consultant, and Steven Thompson, a Houston attorney specializing in environmental law and wind energy.
“Much less than adequate information has been provided,” said Van Stephenson, spokesman for the organization. He said JCCLO was alerted to the interest in putting in wind farms in Jack County in late September at another forum.
There has been an ongoing debate in Montague and Cooke about installing the turbines, and now Jack County joins its neighbors.
“It doesn’t look like it’s a viable solution,” Stephenson said.
The speakers claimed false information had been put out by turbine companies to convince landowners to sign leases. They also pointed to a lack of wind in North Texas to support the farms, a financial burden on taxpayers and the fact that only 36 percent of U.S. power generation comes from wind energy.
Turbine companies claim the wind farms will provide energy needs to thousands of homes, would reduce dependence on foreign oil and are quiet, according to Thompson, who represents clients in Taylor and Cooke counties who are fighting against the turbine companies.
According to the seven classes of wind Hewson presented, very few areas have the wind to support turbines in Texas. Typically, wind farms require a Class 4, with Class 1 being little to no wind and Class 7 being a lot of wind.
Hewson said Jack County and surrounding areas only fall into the Class 3 category; it takes at least a Class 4 for wind generators to operate. The speakers agreed wind wasn’t the solution to energy problems.
One possible resolution presented by Joe Dial, one of the founding members of the North Texas Wind Resistance Alliance, was for every American home to replace five of its light bulbs with ones that have earned the Energy Star. He said each family would save more than $60 every year in energy costs. He said it would also keep more than 1 trillion pounds of greenhouse gases out of the air, equal to the emissions of 8 million cars. That’s a savings of $6 billion dollar for Americans, he added.
Although no wind farms have gone up on land in Jack County, Stephens said turbine companies have started the conversation process with landowners.
He said Gamesa looks to be the leading company for land in Jack County. According to a packet of information provided by JCCLO, landowners should keep in mind that if a mineral interest owner signs a lease with a wind energy company, the oil and gas company has to get permission from the turbine company to drill, place surface equipment, build roads or lay pipelines.
Members of the audience made comments for and against wind energy following the talks, but no representative of the wind energy industry was on the agenda.
By Courtney Reese/Times Record News
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding