The debate over the production of wind farms continued Tuesday night as Clay and Montague County residents met to discuss how they plan to fight off another project.
One project is in the Joy/Buffalo Springs area and another in northern Montague County near Bellevue. APEX energy is working on the Bellevue project and a representative says they are disappointed to see the escalation of anti-wind activity in the area. However, residents Tuesday night said there’s a good reason for that.
Two groups, Clay County Against Wind Farms and Montague County Against Wind Farms, are working alongside the Texas Public Policy Foundation in order to stop the construction of two wind farms projects.
At a meeting, they discussed what they believe are the true costs of wind power.
“Energy usage peak at 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon on summer days. That’s when the wind stops blowing and turbines produce less in heat. So, those are problems as we face our greatest peak load, our demand, right when the wind stops producing,” Texas Public Policy Foundation energy project campaign manager and analyst Cutter Gonzalez said.
Critics also say the turbines cause noise, aesthetic pollution and could damage local wildlife. However, those in the wind energy business say those are just misconceptions. Senior project developer at APEX Energy Kent Dougherty said they try to find the best place to place their wind farms.
“We try to site our projects in areas where folks want them and where there are existing complimentary land uses like ranching and farming,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty said in the long run, wind farms are beneficial.
“They have very low maintenance. While they have a large up-front cost to get them installed, once they are installed you have 30 to 50 years of essentially very low-cost energy,” Dougherty said.
But those against the wind farms said that is just another broken promise. That’s why they have no plans of stopping their opposition.
“They really got out ahead of this thing. A lot of communities they don’t know about it till it’s already happening. You know, they see the trucks rolling down the streets with the giant turbines and they are like what’s going on? And they don’t realize it’s caused by subsidies,” Gonzalez said.
As residents weigh the pros and cons, wind energy companies are in the development stage, while opponents do what they can to keep two Texoma counties wind farm free.
The other wind farm in the Joy area is expected to be built by EDF Energy, the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity. As for the Bellevue project, it is still in the early stages of development.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated on both projects as we learn more.