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Padre Island Offshore Wind Farm, TX

STATUS: Canceled

TYPE:  Wind

OPPOSITION: Environmental and tourism groups (non specified in source materials); Lower Laguna Madre Foundation

PROSPECTS: Canceled

BACKGROUND: On May 11, 2006, Texas officials announced plans for the nation's largest offshore wind farm, consisting of as many as 170 windmills out in the Gulf of Mexico. Houston-based Superior Renewable Energy will build and operate the project, which will be situated within about 10 miles of Padre Island. The project is expected to cost $2 billion.

Because Texas’ water rights extend to 10.3 miles off-shore, unlike other states, the project does not need approval from the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service. However, this has not stopped the NIMBYs.  Opposition from environmental, tourism and other groups are concerned about scenic views and potential harm to birds, many of which migrate to the Texas coast in winter.  "You probably couldn't pick a worse location," said Walter Kittelberger, chairman of the Lower Laguna Madre Foundation, an environmental group named for the strip of water between the mainland and Padre Island. The developer said that it would study bird migration patterns before starting construction and would use blades that he said would be unlikely to harm birds.

The project was canceled in 2007, citing cost as the primary factor.

SOURCES: Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/11/AR2006051101967.html ; Environmental News Network: http://www.enn.com/top_stories/article/4249;
Brownsville Herald: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/articles/years-106262-earliest-farm.html;
Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1335705620070613

Last updated November 29, 2010