Torch Renewable Energy , a Houston company, is seeking permission to construct a wind farm near Allen Flat, north of Interstate 10, about 20 miles west of Willcox, Arizona. According to a story in Willcox Range News, the project proposes to construct up to 28 wind turbines with a combined plate capacity of 51 Megawatts. (Plate capacity is the ideal potential for generation. Usually, however, wind turbines actually deliver only about 20 percent of rated plate capacity.) Torch says that this project, dubbed “Red Horse 2 Wind Farm,” “will invest between $100 – $125 million in infrastructure in Cochise County related to the project.”
Each turbine will be as much as 487 feet high with a blade diameter of 192 feet. The company claims this project will employ 20 people during the construction phase and result in four permanent jobs.
According to the company website, “Torch Renewable Energy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Torch Energy Advisors Incorporated (“TEAI”), a diversified energy company with 27 years of experience developing, acquiring, and operating over $10 billion of oil and gas properties, gas pipelines and processing facilities, oil and gas services businesses, and renewable energy projects.”
The website of TEAI provides little detail about their projects. Rather, they seem to be a vehicle for venture capitalists and other investors. TEAI says, “Torch Energy Advisors, Inc. (TEAI) maintains or manages the interests of third parties’ interests in a variety of oil and gas producing properties, natural gas pipelines and hydrocarbon treating and processing facilities.”
The proposed location of the Red Horse 2 Wind Farm seems to be well away from habitation. That is good because there is some evidence that low-frequency vibrations from wind farms cause illness, dubbed wind turbine syndrome, which includes sleep problems, irritability, and depression: see “Health Hazards of Wind Turbines.”
According to the Willcox Range News, Torch plans initial construction to begin in the 4th quarter of this year with turbine installation in the 2nd quarter of 2014, all contingent on the outcome of bird and bat studies. Wind turbines tend to chop up birds and bats. This is of some concern since the Willcox Playa Wildlife Area hosts hundreds of species of birds during the winter migration.
This article originally appeared in the Arizona Daily Independent.