This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 17, 2006

Company Proposes 500-Megawatt Wind Plant off the Texas Coast

Photo of a row of wind turbines rising from the ocean.

This wind plant off the coast of Arklow, Ireland, may be a preview of the proposed Texas wind plant.
Credit: GE Energy, © 2004, General Electric Company

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) announced on May 11th that Superior Renewable Energy has proposed building a 500-megawatt wind facility off the coast of Padre Island. The company has signed a multi-million-dollar lease agreement for nearly 40,000 acres of land in the Gulf of Mexico. Superior Renewable Energy is currently developing large-scale wind energy projects in New Mexico, South Dakota, California and Hawaii. The Texas GLO previously signed a lease for a company to build a 150-megawatt wind facility off the coast of Galveston. See the Texas GLO press release.

While the proposed plant is close enough to the shore to fall under the jurisdiction of the State of Texas, wind plants farther from shore—on what's called the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)—will fall under federal jurisdiction. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the regulatory authority for wind energy developments on the OCS is now the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS). The MMS is currently holding public meetings on the subject of offshore renewable energy, including a meeting on May 18th near Washington, D.C., and upcoming meetings in California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Texas. The meetings are the first step in an 18-month process to develop a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in order to establish rules for the new MMS Alternate Energy-Related Use program. Comments can also be submitted by July 5th using a new Programmatic EIS Web site, provided by DOE's Argonne National Laboratory. See the MMS press release, the OCS Renewable Energy and Alternative Use Programmatic EIS Web site, and that Web site's definition of the OCS.