Wind Farms To Grow off Texas Coast

Monday, October 31, 2005
Wind turbines supplying energy to homes and businesses will one day line Texas' 376-mile coastline if the state's Land Office Commissioner Jerry Patterson has his way, according to an Associated Press report.

The turbines will stand about 10 miles offshore, enough to preserve the treasured view but close enough to make coastal wind power an affordable energy alternative still missing in the United States, he said.

Economists, engineers and industry executives say wind energy is needed, even if it doesn't always mean lower bills, because it lessens dependency on oil and natural gas.

Federal tax breaks for developers and the rising cost of natural gas used to generate power, however, enhance wind energy's future fiscal benefits. Time will tell, economists said.

Still, some environmentalists worry about disrupting the ecosystem and economists do warn of offshore projects costing more than onshore wind farms.

Wind energy is not a new concept. About one percent of electricity in the United States in generated by wind farms, primarily in the Midwest and West. This year, new onshore projects in states such as California, Texas and New York are expected to help power 700,000 homes.

But the offshore turbines remain unproven at least in the United States. Meanwhile, United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries have operated coastal farms the last several years.

Momentum for U.S. offshore wind farms will pick up along the coasts over the next decade, Patterson said .

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