AUSTIN — Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson drew attention to the Obama Administration's belated entry into the offshore wind race today after U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed the nation's ninth lease for the development of offshore wind power with much fanfare. Patterson signed the first lease on behalf of Texas five years ago.
"We've always known Texas leads the nation in offshore wind energy development - now we know it's by at least five years," Patterson said. "I welcome the Obama Administration into the offshore wind energy business. Better late than never."
Salazar and Cape Wind President Jim Gordon signed the first federal lease for an offshore wind farm this morning at the American Wind Energy Association's Offshore Wind Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
After Patterson signed the first offshore lease in the Gulf of Mexico, the private developers working to build the nation's first wind farm have struggled with financing and hurricanes. "This is still a young industry here in the U.S.," Patterson said. "But I still predict the nation's first offshore wind turbine will go up over Texas waters."
Since 2005, Patterson has signed eight leases with private developers working to build offshore wind farms. Coastal Point Energy LLC and Baryonyx Corporation hold the leases. None of the leases have produced a watt of energy yet, but have already earned nearly $500,000 for the school children of Texas.
"The real money, of course, will come in once turbines are up and begin to spin," Patterson said. "Just like with oil and gas, Texas school kids will earn a percentage of every bit of energy produced by offshore wind out to 10.3 miles from the Texas coast. I'm confident the Texas General Land Office will make that day come sooner rather than later."
Sustainable energy sources such as wind, geothermal and solar power will only become a viable part of our nation's energy portfolio if they make dollars, not just sense. "I'm proud to say Texas is leading the way toward that future," Patterson said.