Thursday, July 18, 2013

Offshore Wind Turbine Farms in Texas Gulf Coastal Waters


Our Texas Gulf Coast is home to untold numbers of birds of many species, as well being a critical path for the annual migrations of many many other bird species. Already the endless acres of Texas coastal farmland, beautifully productive with fields of cotton and grain out to the horizon, are now littered and forever scarred by acres of wind turbines within miles of the Texas Gulf Coast.  Children now grow up without ever seeing true nightfall, the darkness, the inky black night sky that is an endless vista in the flat lands of southern Texas.  Instead of the awe of gazing up at the starlit sky . . . they have blinking wind turbine lights intruding like low hanging man mad stars - that's their childhood.  I suppose they'll have to go on vacation some where as adults to ever experience a true night sky.
Now, I learn from the following article that there are well progressing plans to put wind turbine farms actually in the waters of the Texas Gulf Coast.  I doubt there is anything that can stop that so-called progress, but I have to say something about it.  One of the beautiful experiences of being out on the flats of the Laguna Madre is the sight of enormous flocks of birds on their annual migrations across the bay - those flocks of birds may find themselves obliterated in the years to come by the blades of wind turbines.  
Besides the great numbers of migrations across the waters of the Texas Gulf Coast, there are the native birds that call it home year round.  One of my favorites is the Roseate Spoonbill, that lives year around along the waters and the shore of the Gulf.  And I can't imagine anyone unfamiliar with the sturdy brown pelican that has lived a largely peaceful existence since time began over the waters of the Texas Gulf Coast.  
Photo and caption by Mark Newman A flock of brown pelicans flying low at the seashore with waves in the background.
Location: Padre Island National Seashore, Texas Coast
The BP oil spill impacted that peaceful existence and both public and private time and money was spent to assist these mighty birds in surviving their drenching of oil.  The entire world was appalled and cried foul at such a travesty.  Below you see a photo of the release of brown pelicans, a total of 65 were released that day, back in to their native habitat, cleaned of oil, winging out in to the air in I'm sure relief their ordeal was over.  Yet . . . we will soon kill them with wind turbines and never even count the dead bodies . . . only a human with a skewed and blind agenda could countenance such a contradiction. 

As First Offshore Wind Turbine Launches In Maine, Is Texas Next?

JUNE 10, 2013 | 3:53 PM
In the race to establish the country’s first offshore wind farm, the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composite Center drifted across the finish line recently, when it launched a small, floating-platform research wind turbine off the coast of Castine, Maine. The Center hopes to connect a full-size turbine to their power grid by 2016.
In Texas, however, where steady winds and a gently sloped shoreline could make for ideal conditions to harvest wind, offshore wind is racing to catch up.
Offshore wind farms are typically more efficient than their onshore counterparts because there’s fewer physical obstructions and a more predictably consistent flow of wind. But critics of offshore wind cite potential problems, like impacts on wildlife and scenery. Then there’s the hefty price tag: offshore turbines can be twice as expensive to build as onshore ones.
To the north the King Ranch, 825,000 acres (3338 square kilometres or 1289 square miles) with 60,000 cattle.
Source: 
http://trainsandboatsandplanesandtheoddbus.blogspot.com
The Texas Gulf Coast was at one point thought to be the best candidate for the country’s first offshore wind farm, but efforts by companies such as Coastal Point Energy and Baryonyx have yet to launch. But that might change in the next few years.
Off the coast of Texas, a consortium of universities, energy companies and manufacturers have come together to bring offshore wind farms to the Gulf Coast. The Department of Energy (DOE) is partially funding the design of several offshore wind energy projects over this next year, including the Texas Gulf Offshore Wind Project(GoWind), which plans to install three turbines in the Gulf.
GoWind is composed of research teams from several Texas universities, as well as companies like Baryonyx, and turbine and platform manufacturers. In addition to federal funding, the group has contributed between $20 to $25 million of their own money to the project.
John Pappas, director of the Texas A&M Wind Energy Center, is one of the project’s leaders. He thinks that the GoWind project will succeed because of the Gulf’s inherent advantages, like its long history of offshore oil drilling.  
Cleaned pelicans, oiled from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, are released at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Texas Gulf Coast . . . Source:  Gerald Herbert, The Associated Press
“What’s good about the Gulf of Mexico, first and foremost, is that we have the infrastructure and the people who know how to work offshore,” Pappas said. “In some other places, they don’t have the infrastructure necessary to bring [turbines] offshore and construct them.”
In Texas, Pappas and the GoWind team, will submit their designs to the government by February of next year. The Department of Energy will then consider their proposal along with six others. Three of them will be selected for full funding, with the expectation that they’ll start generating power no later than the fall of 2017.
Whether or not GoWind is one of those three, Pappas thinks that offshore wind in the Gulf is an inevitability. Within a decade, he projects that turbines off the Texas coast will be able to produce two to three gigawatts of energy. That’s roughly 4 percent of the state’s current peak energy demand.
“It will be something that people are used to and understand and want, because it is clean and because it does have a relatively small impact on the environment, and on people, and on other life as well,” Pappas said. “I think it’s just going to become … more accepted.”
Michael Marks is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas. 

TRANS-GULF MIGRANTS  


A Bobolink in flight. (Photo: © Paul Higgins)
Source:  LivingOnEarth.Org


Defined as those bird species that cross the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatan Peninsula to the U. S. Gulf Coast (Texas to Florida). Trans-Gulf migration is characteristic of the following species, but does not exclude the possibility of some circum-Gulf passage either. Bird migration is not black or white. In the biological world there are rules, but there are always exceptions. This is not a complete list. (List Source:  Texas Parks and Wildlife)






Chimney Swift
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Common Nighthawk
Chuck-will’s-widow
Whip-poor-will
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
White-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Philadelphia Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Purple Martin
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Veery
Gray-cheeked Thrush
Swainson’s Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Bay-breasted Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Prothonotary Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Swainson’s Warbler
Ovenbird
Northern Waterthrush
Louisiana Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Summer Tanager
Scarlet Tanager
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Dickcissel
Bobolink
Orchard Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

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