Some news from the Hereford Brand, concerning wind turbines and wildlife…
The lesser prairie chicken has been under consideration by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for inclusion on the federal endangered species list for nearly 20 years, but the threat to the rare bird posed by hundreds of wind turbines could be enough to force the agency to move forward with a listing.
According to Wild Earth Guardians, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based environmental group that has petitioned the USFWS to “immediately” list the bird as an endangered species, populations of lesser prairie chickens have plummeted by an estimated 97 percent over the fowl’s historic range.
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Breaking news from SNL Interactive:
Texas regulators on Jan. 29 awarded more than a dozen electric transmission developers shares of an approximately $5 billion plan to build transmission lines between wind-rich regions in west Texas and the panhandle and major load centers.
The decision, made by the Public Utility Commission of Texas at its open meeting, parcels out about 2,900 miles of high-voltage transmission projects, which the commission expects to support nearly 18,500 MW of wind generation.
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Check out this article from My Way News AP about wind power in Texas.
In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.
“People think about oil wells and football in Texas, but in 10 years they’ll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to do,” said Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America, which has about 1,200 megawatts of wind projects already in use or on the drawing board in Texas.
Texas is already the national leader in wind power, generating about 5,000 megawatts. But wind-energy advocates say the lack of transmission lines has kept a lot of that power from being put to use and has hindered the building of more turbines.
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