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Wind energy company proposes massive leases off South Texas coast  

Credit:  By Mike D. Smith, www.caller.com 16 June 2011 ~~

CORPUS CHRISTI – A wind energy company official said his company is working diligently to ensure proposed wind farms don’t interfere with area military operations.

Baryonyx Corporation, Inc., has applied for a permit through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to install up to 200 wind turbines each in three areas between Corpus Christi and Brownsville.

The company proposes building a wind farm on more than 26,200 acres off Mustang Island.

An alternate, 45,000-acre site was negotiated with the Texas General Land Office in case of any concerns that may arise about Naval Air Station Corpus Christi operations, Baryonyx’s senior vice president of offshore wind projects Mark Leyland said.

Leyland said Corpus Christi has the potential for to assist with fabrication and storage needs – and associated jobs – should the project be built.

“I really want to work with people to try and get this to work because I do see tremendous benefits for the local community,” Leyland said.

Company officials made a presentation to personnel from both stations in February.

The proposed site is under official review by a U.S. Department of Defense specialist and a report could be released within the next three months, Leyland said.

Naval Air Station Corpus Christi spokesman Bob Torres said the station had no comment on the proposed project Thursday but would comment in the future.

Patrick Paddock, deputy operations officer at Naval Air Station Kingsville, said he doesn’t think the Baryonyx’s initial plans to set up a few test turbines will strongly impact the stations’ missions.

Wind turbines can cause radar problems such as false returns depending on distance, their positioning and certain weather conditions.Turbines set up in San Patricio County have caused radar problems, mostly because they are arranged in different directions and were installed too close together, Paddock said.

Even a large number of turbines spaced far apart can cause less of a problem, especially at great distances from the radar’s base, Paddock said.

“What we ask is all the developers come to us early and work with us and decide if there are issues,” Paddock said, adding that Baryonyx has shown a lot of willingness.Two other sites Baryonyx listed in its application are an area of about 22,000 acres and another of more than 19,000 acres in the coastal waters off Willacy and Cameron counties.

Fully developed, Leyland estimated the Texas coastal fields could generate 3 gigawatts of electricity.

One gigawatt can power about 250,000 homes, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Baryonyx has built a wind farm off the coast of the United Kingdom.

Texas is pushing to be the nation’s wind energy leader and is actively trying to lease as much of the state’s offshore waters for that purpose as possible, Texas General Land Office spokesman Jim Suydam said.

Suydam said doing so creates a revenue stream for public education, similar to oil and gas revenues.

Any local issues arising as a result of development are between companies and local interests, Suydam said.

The state only encourages developers to abide by state and federal laws, he said.

Source:  By Mike D. Smith, www.caller.com 16 June 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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