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Willacy moves closer to wind-generated power  

Credit:  By ALLEN ESSEX/Valley Morning Star, www.valleymorningstar.com 6 February 2011 ~~

RAYMONDVILLE – Progress is being made toward placing windmill farms in Willacy County, despite a drop in the price of wind-generated electric power, a representative of Eon Energy told county commissioners this past week.
But approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, the need to locate windmills away from sugar cane fields and time-consuming negotiations with landowners are all hurdles the company faces, Eon representative Matthew McCluskey said.
Eon Energy and Duke Energy are both working on large wind farm projects in Willacy County that will produce tax revenue and provide construction jobs and a few permanent jobs after they go into operation.
Giant wind turbines make less noise than the humming noise of high-tension power lines, McCluskey said.
The impact on farm fields will be minimal although there will be roads leading to the windmill towers, he said.
The price his company can sell the power for has dropped dramatically since the project was first announced, but Eon Energy is still proceeding with the project, he said.
At a meeting Monday, commissioners also heard a report from Peter A. Ravella of PAR Consulting LLC, a company working to bring state and federal funds for park facilities, nature trails and other projects to Port Mansfield.
The projects are aimed at increasing use of the shoreline by local families, tourists and non-boat owners, he said.
Port Mansfield already attracts large numbers of sport fishing enthusiasts and boat owners, but the chances of acquiring land for public parks will disappear in the future, he said.
Ravella reviewed the progress of funding applications for a kayak launching facility, the Laguna Point Recreation Area, Laguna Madre Interpretive Center/Coastal Land Resources Center, Laguna Point Recreation Center, Fred Stone Park rehabilitation, Port Mansfield birding trail and a “sanctuary trail.”
The interpretive center would feature a historic lighthouse-style tower for solar energy and rainwater capture, adding to its tourism appeal, he said.
But several projects have had delays in state funding and some projects have been turned down for grants because of funding cutbacks, he said.
Some of the projects can proceed with funding already in hand by just using county money, he said.

Source:  By ALLEN ESSEX/Valley Morning Star, www.valleymorningstar.com 6 February 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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