Texas has more wind power than any state and added the most last year, just ahead of California. The problem is that renewable sources are less consistent and reliable than fossil fuels. In Texas, the squeeze comes during heat waves, when demand surges and the air gets still. In California, the challenge is to keep a stable output on the grid and avoid rolling blackouts.
In the hill country where I live, there was a time when you could enjoy the blue haze from the distant hills, maybe set up a canvas to paint the sun setting behind them or just sit and watch while the color washed over them at dusk. Now those hills are dotted with wind generators churning out electricity. This pastoral scene looks nothing like the Texas kids imagined when they imagined cowboys and cattle drives.
The short of it is this: wind power is a great idea on paper but it is unreliable, mainly there when you don't need it, subsidized to the point where it destroys essential generation, and creates an environment where investors are rethinking investment in new plants.
The proposed wind farm had significant resistance from the Navy over the last year, but recently the Navy has "stood down" as nationally our current administration has issued the call for the Navy to be "greener."
The initial Navy resistance was based on the fact that wind farms cause radar interference ...The agreement calls for a "new unproven technology" that essentially "dumbs down" the high tech radar system. Now that makes sense.
Kingsville officials oppose a planned wind farm near Rivera.
They are concerned about potential interference with Navy radar. I say these concerns are well founded. The turbines north of Nueces Bay definitely interfere with FAA radar right here in Corpus Christi.
Comptroller Combs will hear criticism from the Texas Wind Industry folks and green energy advocates, but she made the right call in recommending against the tax abatement application with Bishop ISD. Until technical mitigation is proven, it would be unwise to allow the construction of wind turbines within 25 miles of NAS Corpus Christi, NAS Kingsville and the Corpus Christi International Airport.
I live in a rather harsh and very real world. And I've learned some things. When you pull a trigger you can't stop the bullet. It's gone. Like an extinct species, there is no amount of "what-ifs" or "if we had just done something" that will bring them back.
But there is still time in this case. If we stand up for what we know is right and organize we can stop these Cuisinarts of the sky from coming.
Robert Bryce notes for National Review Online that on an "unspeakably hot" Aug. 24 in Texas, 10,135 megawatts of wind-generation capacity supplied just 880 megawatts of power "when electricity was needed the most" -- in the afternoon, when wind subsides while heat and electricity demand rise.
The state is spending billions on projects that focus on wind energy rather than on conventional generation capacity. Consumers will soon be paying for new transmission lines that are being built solely so that the subsidy-dependent wind-energy profiteers can move electricity ...Further, consider what might be happening had the state kept the $6.79 billion it's now spending on wind-energy transmission lines and instead allocated it to new natural-gas-fired generators.
The wind-energy lobby has been masterly at garnering huge subsidies and mandates by claiming that its product is a "green" alternative to conventional electricity. But the hype has obscured a dirty little secret: When power demand is highest, wind energy's output is generally low.
The proliferation of wind energy projects has raised concerns about the long-term viability of Naval Air Station Kingsville's mission to train aviators. In an attempt to protect the Navy base, state Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and state Rep. J.M. Lozano, D-Kingsville, filed a bill to require notification of plans to build turbines within 25 miles of a military installation.
"Wind power is an open trough of government subsidies, tax credits and state mandates. Taken together, it's a massive corporate welfare effort that means big money for the wind power developers and big costs for the rest of us." Loren Steffy, the Houston Chronicle. ...competitively priced goods or services cease to be the primary concern of the producer. Courting government agencies and influencing laws becomes the chief goal.
Texas loves to talk up the fact that it is the biggest wind power state and even ranks high world-wide compared to other countries. But somehow, that didn't seem to serve the residents of the great Lone Star State on February 2. ...But no worries, I have the perfect solution: Next time power plants are "tripping," ERCOT should issue an order for the wind to blow harder in West Texas.
Until very recently I honestly thought the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) would listen to our concerns and do what was right for Mason County and even the entire Hill Country. But, today, I am tired of listening to the bullies and I am convinced that the "big bureaucracy" has not and will not be influenced by the practical concerns of a small rural community.
I'm talking about the CREZ electric transmission lines that the Public Utility Commission (PUC) ordered constructed throughout the entire state.
Landowners across the Hill Country are learning that their pristine private property is now going to be condemned for a 260-foot right-of-way so the state can install 180 foot tall towers on their land.
And, when the electricity starts to flow, they can't even tap into it because it will be a "pass-through" that only benefits big city users. ...So, landowners are relegated to spending their hard-earned money fighting utility companies, hiring lawyers to argue in front of administrative law judges, and showing up at public hearings only to be ignored and mocked by arrogant bureaucrats paid by our tax dollars.
Generating electricity from wind is growing fast enough that as more wind farms are brought online, more are being built. Depending on your point of view, that is either a good or a bad thing. ...Wind is not replacing baseload, it is replacing peaking generation. Not only that, in Texas, wind farms are exempt from rules that would force them to make payments to the system operator if they can't deliver power when the wind stops blowing. Natural gas burners say everyone ought to play by the same rules.
Chinese wind power provider A-Power Energy Generation Systems(SPWR) and its U.S.-based partners announced on Thursday plans to build a wind turbine production and assembly plant in Nevada that will create up to 1,000 permanent jobs for the state and more jobs during the construction phase.
The announcement about the Nevada plant was notable for two reasons: the selection of Nevada as home state for the wind energy plant, and the political power broker who is associated with the state.
Yet public officials from the president and vice president to Cabinet and congressional leaders insult our intelligence by delivering scripted messages that the future of the new energy system in this country is clean renewable energy that will be delivered by countless so-called green jobs. The fake chimes of energy independence echo up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. Do headlines make truth, regardless of content? What is it about organizations like Repower America and the Center for American Progress, which provide ideology, not substance, to the administration and congressional leadership on the so-called new energy system? Why are their conclusions unchallenged?
"Is anyone looking at wind farms from a pilot training standpoint?' was the question and stunned silence was the answer. The question came during a discussion on encroachment last month at the Department of Defense (DOD) Community Conference in Orlando, Fla.
For example, did you know that placing wind turbines between 5 and 8 miles from an airfield creates "blind spots" due to the clutter created on the radar screen?
The rush to America of foreign wind-turbine manufacturers shows that the Obama administration's plan for stimulating the creation of green-energy jobs is going in an odd direction.
Two weeks ago, U.S. Renewable Energy Group, led by Dallas investor Cappy McGarr, announced plans to build a $1.5 billion wind energy farm in West Texas. About a third of the money would come from federal stimulus funds. ...There would be perhaps 330 jobs created in Texas. Most would be temporary construction jobs. Meanwhile, thousands of Chinese workers in the northeastern industrial city Shenyang would build the labor-intensive turbines.