Offshore Wind Development May Come to Texas
This article, The winds of Texas,
Doreen Leggett, Townonline.com/bourne, (June 25, 2003) reports on a recent study suggesting that the offshore wind resource in the Gulf of Mexico may be more promising than originally believed. As a result of this finding, offshore developers have been contacting state regulators regarding the possibility of developing offshore wind projects. The article reports that an RFP for an offshore project may be issued as early as the end of the summer.
But given all of the problems with the Cape Wind problem (see, for example, this prior post), why would a developer want to involve itself in an offshore undertaking in Texas? Well, for one, according to the article, by a statutory quirk, Texas, unlike Massachusetts controls offshore lands up to eleve miles out. Thus, Texas would lease land for project development and developers would pay the state a fee. State control of project lands eliminates one problem experienced by Cape Wind, namely the issue of how to acquire requisite property rights on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)where a permit from the Corps of Engineers does not confer these rights and the Mineral Management Service, which leases lands on the OCS has no authority to issue a lease for renewable development. Second, aesthetics are likely to present less of a problem in Texas, where residents have long been accustomed to sharing their shoreline views and use with oil rigs.