Friday, May 12, 2006

Something else at sea: Offshore wind farms

A large offshore wind farm off Padre Island, Texas has been approved, as reported here:
Texas General Land Office, which manages state lands and mineral rights, said yesterday that it reached an agreement granting Superior Renewable Energy LLC the rights to 39,900 acres of submerged lands in the Gulf of Mexico, just off the coast of Padre Island and south of Baffin Bay. The big wind turbines, expected to number more than 100, will be erected as few as three and as many as eight miles offshore.

The Houston company, headed by the former executive of a small oil company, said it plans to build 500 megawatts of capacity, enough to power a small city or about 125,000 homes.
Because of a quirk of history, the project does not need approval from the Interior Department's Minerals Management Service, unlike most proposed offshore wind projects. States control waters up to three miles from shore. But when Texas, previously an independent country, joined the United States in 1845, Sam Houston insisted that the state's rights extend to three leagues, or 10.3 miles, offshore. After oil and gas were discovered there, controversy over the rights led to a Supreme Court decision against the state, but the rights were restored in 1953 legislation signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Now, I wonder if Cape Cod will follow? Oh. wait, they probably don't have the three league rule... and any wind farms will have to be decided in consultation with the states and the feds and all the politicians, and will never get resolved. Wise man that Sam Houston...

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