Library filed under General from Texas
Lightning that struck a wind turbine tower Wednesday near U.S. Highway 87 between Sterling City and Big Spring sent four men to a nearby hospital, a General Electric Co. official said. The four employees drove themselves to the hospital and were checked out as a precaution, GE spokeswoman Melissa Rocker said.
As the wind-energy industry continues to grow, state officials are developing guidelines to help wildlife and wind turbines coexist on the High Plains, a first step that may serve as a blueprint for the rest of Texas. "We're trying to get Panhandle-specific guidelines that would include the lesser-prairie chicken," said Kathy Boydston, program leader for wildlife habitat assessment at the state Parks & Wildlife Department.
The Lone Star state famously leads the U.S., itself the world leader, in wind power. But how much wind power-really-does Texas have? Less than one-tenth of its official tally of more than 8,000 megawatts, says Robert Bryce in the Energy Tribune. That's because wind power is a lot more fickle than other power sources, such as natural gas, coal, or nuclear power.
The answer to North Carolina's green energy challenge is blowing in the wind-swept mesas of Texas. With the first deadlines fast approaching for North Carolina's renewable energy targets, power companies in this state are snapping up green certificates from out-of-state wind farms. The certificates don't buy electricity, but pay for credits needed to meet state targets.
San Patricio County Commissioner Jim Price, a private pilot, contends that because 19 of roughly 100 turbines planned by E.ON Climate & Renewables North America Inc. fall within four miles of the T.P. McCampbell Airport, they jeopardize the approach to a runway.
In May, the Lower Colorado River Authority sent notification packets to landowners in Tom Green, Irion, Schleicher, Menard, Sutton, Kimble, Kerr and Gillespie counties whose property it might cross with one of three different routes of the proposed Twin Buttes-McCamey Transmission Line project. These notices included vague maps of the proposed routes and fluffed information regarding the reasons for them and how it will affect the land they confiscate.
Between the windy flats of West Texas, where wind farms have sprouted like bluebonnets, and the population centers of the central and eastern parts of the state, where electricity is consumed at a growing rate, sits the rolling land of the Hill Country. Landowners there are banding together in the face of a state plan to ship wind power across the area on transmission lines built and operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Austin's electric utility could soon reverse a long-standing practice of selling wind, solar and other renewable energy only to customers who choose to buy it, four Austin City Council members and a mayoral aide said this week. The council's ambitious goal of getting 30 percent of the city's electricity from renewable sources by 2020 could be in jeopardy if Austin Energy relies exclusively on its landmark GreenChoice program.
For the past decade, Austin's ambition to become the world's clean-energy capital has been best exemplified by one effort: GreenChoice, a program that sells electricity generated entirely from renewable sources such as wind. Now the nationally renowned program is struggling to find buyers - the latest allotment is 99 percent unsold after seven months on the market - and Austin Energy is looking for ways to bring down the rising costs. ...It now costs almost three times more than the standard electricity rate.
A sense of foreboding has engulfed this rural town since word spread that huge towers carrying power lines soon may punctuate its ruggedly beautiful landscape. "It's a big deal to have something of that massive size come through here," Kimble County Judge Andy Murr said. "There are very few large transmission lines through the county."
T. Boone Pickens' plan to build the world's largest wind farm is off. Instead, Pickens said he will build five or six smaller wind farms, in the Midwest and possibly Texas, though he hasn't settled on locations. Last year, Pickens announced that he would build a 1,000-megawatt wind farm in Pampa, Texas.
A portion of a wind farm project in Kenedy County has been sold while the rest is up for sale. Australia-based Babcock and Brown is keeping the operation part of the Gulf Wind project, but has sold the rights to its expansion. Initial plans called for a total of 157 wind turbines and thus far 118 are spinning.
County commissioners plan to tackle concerns about the construction of wind farms out near Chapman Ranch. A concerned resident went before commissioners Wednesday saying he's concerned that wind farm companies are signing contracts with private land owners; that type of deal is not regulated by the state and would not require a public hearing.
About 400 landowners from Bell, Burnet, Coryell and Lampasas Counties showed up for a meeting Saturday night hoping to protect their land from an Oncor Electric Delivery Company transmission line project planned in their areas. Oncor's project, dubbed the Newton-Killeen 345 kV Transmission Line, would require clear-cutting an approximately 20-mile long, 160-foot-wide trail to accommodate towers that would transport wind energy through Central Texas.
The conflict between President Barack Obama's vision and Texas' reality boils down to a mix of politics and industry. While Obama has staked his economic recovery agenda on creating millions of green jobs, Texas depends on carbon dioxide jobs. Texas Republicans, out of power in Washington but still ruling Austin, oppose much of the Democratic energy agenda. Gov. Rick Perry says the policies would "have a devastating impact on the use of fossil fuels" and put "downward pressure on jobs, on our ability to create wealth."
Not in my backyard. That was the sentiment of residents Thursday night when LCRA hosted an open house on the campus of Tally Elementary School. Several hundred residents looked at maps and renderings of proposed transmission lines that might run through Kerr County to a proposed lift station north of Kerrville.
Jack County commissioners received official notice Monday of a new wind energy project during a regular meeting of the court. Representatives from Gamesa Energy were present to detail Senate Wind LLC and lay the groundwork for a request for a re-investment zone. ...Larry Guyton, who owns property in the Senate area, approached the court with concerns about the new project. He said he was representing seven of his neighbors who, because of the lack of notice of the Gamesa presentation, could not attend the meeting.
Some residents who live along one of the proposed paths are concerned about how the power lines will affect the appearance of their natural landscape. Some also are concerned about the preservation of historical sites in the area. Oncor Electric Delivery is one of 13 entities that will be part of this transmission line project, as 850 miles of the project falls in their coverage area. Company officials held area public meetings recently to explain the project. They said feedback was important for them, and they would take that under consideration in choosing routes for the lines.
The Lower Colorado River Authority plans to build, own and operate about 600 miles of new and rebuilt existing transmission lines and facilities ...The project is one of the system improvements deemed necessary by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and ordered by the PUC to be constructed to meet the mandate of Senate Bill 20, that requires energy production in Texas include 5,000 megawatts of renewable wind generation by 2015.
Australian-based Babcock and Brown is looking for a buyer for its Kenedy County wind farm ...The company announced in February its plans to sell Gulf Wind, saying it will sell its assets over a two- to three-year period to reduce the company's debt level.