The Battle for Texas Wind Farms
Posted on January 09 2017
Today is my first day as an intern for the Texas Senate of Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee. Today, I learned about an important bill that is meant protect the Shepard Air Force Base.
Wind farms are growing fast all over Texas. The American Wind Energy Association has ranked Texas 1st in the country for installed capacity of wind farm, generating enough energy for 4.1 million homes. Wind accounts for about 12% of Texas's total energy creation.
But they are posing a problem to certain bases. Horn Wind PM LLC is currently planning on developing a wind farm near Shepard Air Force Base in Texas. This is causing growing concerns for the military installation. Turbines can effect radar communication equipment and have the potential of limiting training days for pilots in that area. It can also effect the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Training Program as well. The spinning turbines could interfere with radar waves causing blind spots to the tracking equipment.
Why does this matter? If Shepard cannot fulfill its mission, then those mission could be moved to other Air Force bases in the country. This will not only have a huge economic impact on Shepard Air Force Base and it's surrounding community but on Texas as whole. Beyond that, if Shepard loses too many mission directives, then it could face shutting down.
Senator Donna Campbell is working on legislation that will cut the government subsidies to any wind farm within a 50 miles radius of a military installation. This bill doesn't make it illegal to build but makes it pretty much un profitable.