Texas coastal wind project is spinning

The blades are turning on a controversial wind power project along the Texas Coast, south of Corpus Christi, according to the Caller Times:

Shots of construction taken last year by opponents of the project during a flyover.

“When fully operational, Babcock and Brown’s Gulf Winds wind farm and Iberdrola Renewables’ Peñascal wind farm are expected to generate a combined 285 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 100,000 homes. The farms began generating power for the state’s electric grid in November, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.”
Australian-based Babcock and Brown’s $700 million project will have 118 turbines for an annual maximum output expected to be 283.2 megawatts, enough to power more than 72,000 homes. Iberdrola’s $400 million wind farm will have about 84 turbines, each capable of generating 2.4 megawatts a year for a total output of about 202 megawatts, enough to power 40,000 average homes.
Officials with both companies have said they are not sure when all turbines will be operating. However, ERCOT says all of Gulf Winds’ turbines are expected to be online by September 2010.

There’s been some controversy over these turbines, some environmental, some apparently personal and political. Efforts to block the projects were thrown out of court in August. We’ve blogged about the project here.
There’s also been some reports Babcock & Brown may be looking to sell the projects, which could be seen as a bit more attractive than West Texas wind projects in that this one is much closer to areas of high demand (Houston) and the coastal location tends to provide better winds during the hottest parts of the day (West Texas turbines don’t spin as much then).
The official ribbon-cutting for the project is this Wednesday (Jan. 7).