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Texas Taking Lead in Race for US' First Offshore Wind Farm?

Texas start-up Baryonyx awarded two offshore wind energy leases

Which state’s waters will be the home of the United States’ first offshore wind farm? Will it be Massachusetts, where an eight-year battle for a wind farm near Cape Cod seems like it may never end? How about a little further south, in Rhode Island or New Jersey? Will it be Delaware, where Bluewater Wind hopes to develop a project that would provide almost 1/3 of the energy needed by Delmarva Power? What about other Mid-Atlantic states like North Carolina or Virginia, where the Department of Interior says sites with easily-developed shallow water wind resources dot the coastline?

Well, if you answered none of the above, you may be on to something.

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Texas General Land Office last week awarded leases to Baryonyx, authorizing the company to develop wind farms on three sites, two of which are offshore, with a total potential capacity of 3,000 megawatts.

The two offshore wind leases, for sites in the Gulf of Mexico, are the sixth and seventh leases for offshore wind farms signed by the General Land Office since 2005, the land office said in a statement. The third site is on state land in the Texas panhandle.

Under the lease, Baryonyx will pay the state’s Permanent School Fund a nominal fee to lease the two offshore areas for wind development, but its payments would climb if and when the company began producing energy on the site.

Once built, the two offshore wind farms would inject a minimum of $338 million into the state’s school systems over the 30-year lease, according to state officials.

Baryonyx said its offshore farms will each produce a minimum of 750 MW and use some of the world’s largest turbines, each one producing up to five MW.

Baryonyx will now begin detailed environmental and engineering evaluation of options for the development of the 3 prospects. Only after environmental assessment and consultation with interested parties, will construction applications be filed for the projects.

So maybe Texas is a little ways off from taking the lead, but assuming the aesthetically-based NIMBY opposition isn’t as strong on the Texas coast as it has been in the Northeast, there’s definitely a chance.

Image © Rodiks; Baryonyx

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Written By

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.

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