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Agreement with Navy clears way for Petronila wind farm

A $180 million project that will create 100 new wind turbines near the military installations in South Texas will go forward.

An agreement was signed on Tuesday, by all the relevant parties involved.

The chief development officer of the company behind the project said that not having this agreement was the biggest obstacle to completing this project, but that hurdle was cleared by the signing of a memorandum of agreement.

Naval Air Station-Kingsville and Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi reached the agreement with E.ON Climate and Renewables, which plans on building the new turbines in Petronila. With the agreement, the parties state that the turbines do not threaten the Navy’s missions in Corpus Christi and Kingsville.

One concern that arose is wind farm interference. That is, under certain conditions, wind turbines interfere with radar systems used by pilots and air traffic controllers responsible for the safe separation and control of all civilian, commercial and military air traffic.

“The Department of the Navy has agreed in the memorandum of agreement in detail that we will do whatever we can to technically fix the radar, with current capabilities that exist today, from Raytheon and then likewise the wind farm developers,” said Captain McLaughlin of NAS-Kingsville. “In this case, E.ON has done their due diligence on trying to align turbines as best they can so that some are hidden behind other ones.”

While these preventative measures are being taken to protect against wind farm interference, McLaughlin said that, in the end, if everything goes bad with the radar, the final piece of the agreement is something called the Navy Curtailment Clause, which would be the curtailment of operations to guarantee that there will always be a sustainable Navy mission here.

The parties have done all they can to mitigate these concerns, and they hope they don’t have to use the curtailment clause, but that option does remain.

The wind turbines are set to be built next year.