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Asher Price reports today in the Austin (TX) newspaper that landowners across central Texas are “banding together in the face of a state plan to ship wind power” from the breezy Plains to the state’s cities. The Lower Colorado River Authority has mapped the general corridor of transmission lines leading from just west of San Angelo down and then up through the Texas Hill Country. (Map above.) The lines needed to carry wind power “will be strung from tower to tower, each tower standing as high as 180 feet tall and about 1,300 feet apart. They will run through a clear-cut easement as much as 160 feet wide.”
Ranchers have been less than happy to have 160-foot wide swaths cut through their property and have banded together to oppose the LCRA’s plans. This is a story that is replaying across the central part of the country, as new transmission lines are being planned to move power from wind farms to city markets. The LCRA lines are only a $795 million chunk out of a $4.9 billion in new transmission lines planned in Texas alone.
Environmentalists in cities want the new lines because they believe wind power will replace coal. (“We want as much wind brought online as quickly as possible,” said the head of Environmental Texas.) Meanwhile, environmentalists in the country object to transmission lines criss-crossing uncluttered land. The result is a giant game of pass the trash, as one group looks to move the lines on to somebody else’s land. The county government in Kimble County, for example, passed a resolution asking that the lines scheduled for that county be moved to neighboring Mason County. Lots of comments at the end of this story.