In Texas, a fierce battle is raging between local communities and a Chinese billionaire, Sun Guangxin, over a proposed 46-turbine wind farm in Val Verde County. The Chinese tycoon, who has an estimated networth of $2.9 billion, has acquired more than 130,000 acres of farmland in the Lone Star State, accounting for 7% of all the land in Val Verde.
Local residents and state politicians alike have expressed strong opposition to the plan, citing fears over energy security and national security. The 700-foot turbines, which are located just 30 miles from a major United States Air Force base, could be vulnerable to potential espionage by Sun due to his close ties with the Chinese Communist Party. Additionally, the turbines would threaten the peace and scenery of the community, as well as a famous bat maternity colony at Fern Cave, Monarch Ranch.
A report that was published by a former CIA official alleged that Sun could be considered an anged of the CCP by US authroties adding the project could provide espionage opportunities for Beijing. It was also learned that Sun was a former military Captain and had close ties inside the the government.
In response to the local outcry, Texas Governor Greg Abbott introduced the Lone Star Infrastructure Act in 2021 – a law that prevents companies associated with “hostile nations,” including China, from accessing the state’s infrastructure. Despite the new law, locals have reason to worry as Sun recently sold the rights to develop the wind farm to Babcock & Wilcox, Greenalia, for an undisclosed profit.
Sun has since sold most of his controversial portfolio, including the 15,000 acre ranch that included the wind farm plans, and is set to put the rest of his assets in Texas on the market. Nevertheless, it appears the battle is far from over as local citizens remain adamant in their opposition to the proposed wind farm.