KTRK: City hopes to build a windmill farm

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KTRK-13’s Ted Oberg reports that Mayor White has plans for the City of Houston to become a producer of electricity:

Electricity will cost the city of Houston $130 million this year. That’s $30 million more than last year because of rising natural gas costs. But now, the city tells us it has a plan to spend its way to a lower power bill.


So then why is the city asking for a $50 million loan to build windmills? They could be 17 huge windmills, each of them almost 400 feet tall to generate power the city would use for itself.


The proposed city of Houston wind farm on top of downtown Houston would take three square miles. Don’t worry. It won’t be built in downtown, but 250 miles away in Kennedy County. The windmills would connect to the Texas power grid, which runs all over the state, so Houston could grab the wind electricity here.


[I]n the last 12 months, Houston’s natural gas electricity ranged in price from 14 cents per kilowatt hour right after Katrina to six cents today. Wind energy is a steady six cents – today, tomorrow, and for years in the future.

“Break even or save the city money on what it would pay on its energy bills,” said Mayor White.

The city’s application is still with the IRS, which needs to approve it. Then city council votes on the plan. If that goes well, the windmills could turn in 2008.

We sympathize with the Mayor’s desire to lower the city’s cost for electricity, although it’s not clear that the city needs to be in the electrical-generation business. Before branching out to that field, it would be nice if the city could simply get better at the murder-prevention business, and the graffiti-eradication business, and the crime-response-time business, and the emergency-call-answering business, and the pothole-repair business, and… well, you get the idea.

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