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6 investigates: wind turbines worth the cost?  

Credit:  By Andrew Ellison | KRIS-TV | www.msnbc.msn.com ~~

CORPUS CHRISTI – You may have seen them, those four towers right by the American Bank Center off of Shoreline. Those four towers are actually wind turbines, and they were part of a bayfront improvement plan from the 2004 Bond Election.

On a windy day like today, you can see them spinning away. Only problem is that all that spinning isn’t actually powering anything.

That’s because the four wind turbines aren’t hooked into any electrical grid in the city. That means that since they were built two years ago, they haven’t really done anything.

According to city documents, the turbines cost $450,728 to build. So we asked Assistant City Manager Oscar Martinez why the turbines are there at all.

“It is just simply an aesthetic structure that is a place where people can see it from far away and it’s an attraction, nothing more,” Martinez says.

So if they’re only there for looks, are they worth over $450,000?

“Is the price tag worth it? I’d have to say the jury is still out on that one,” Martinez says.

“If you we’re going to measure the value of the structure based on its ability to produce power, it’s not going to measure up,” Martinez says.

City officials say part of the problem is that the wind turbines don’t work well enough to produce a meaningful amount of power, and that the cost to hook them up to the grid would outweigh the benefit.

And even though the turbines don’t produce any energy, Martinez says they did help change the look and feel of downtown.

“It is accomplishing the goal of having a place in which to gather and have fun and to be, I think, a unique location in our community,” Martinez says.

But is the unique location worth over $450,000 if the four wind turbines don’t really act like wind turbines?

The City says that at this time, they have no plans to change the function of the turbines.

Source:  By Andrew Ellison | KRIS-TV | www.msnbc.msn.com

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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