OPPOSITION: Coastal Habitat Alliance; King Ranch
BACKGROUND: The $440 million Penascal Wind Farm is located in Kenedy County, Texas. The project consists of 84 turbines. The developer of the project is Iberdrola Renewables. These turbines generate 404-megawatts of energy which is enough energy to provide power to 70,000 homes.
The project experienced a prolonged delay due to strong opposition to the wind turbines, primarily from a group called the Costal Habitat Alliance. This group consists of King Ranch and many other environmental groups. The Coastal Habitat Alliance sued the Public Utility Commission and the Texas General Land office to stop the project but saw no relief because there is no state or federal regulatory oversight regarding wind farms.
The opposition claimed that the turbines would impact migratory bird patterns. To address these concerns, Iberdrola hired biologists who conducted three and a half years of research on bird patterns. The Coastal Habitat Alliance also claimed that the groundwater would be negatively affected by the project. This concern was eventually dismissed.
Construction on half of the Penascal Wind Farm concluded in April 2009. The Penascal Wind Power Project became fully operational in April 2010 and comprises two wind farms, Penascal I and Penascal II. The facility consists of 92 wind turbines. Each phase of the project added 202MW of maximum capacity to the project and has become the largest facility operated by Iberdrola Renovables.
SOURCES: Caller-Times: http://www.caller.com/news/2008/mar/20/energy-windmill-debate-heats-up/
Renewable Energy World: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2009/04/iberdrola-opens-texas-wind-farm-receives-approval-for-vermont-project;
Renewable Energy Development: http://renewableenergydev.com/red/wind-power-penascal-wind-farm/
Last updated December 1, 2010