Articles filed under General from Texas
The West Central Texas area, centered on Abilene and Sweetwater, may be the wind energy capital of North America, but the wind farms have yet to meet their full production capacity. And they won't for at least a few more years. That's because the construction of wind farms has outpaced the capacity of transmission lines to ferry the energy to market. ...How much electricity generation is lost by having to curtail production for lack of transmission capacity is uncertain, said Roark.
The company that owns one of two wind farms in Kenedy County is going out of business. Australia-based investment firm Babcock & Brown, which developed the Gulf Wind project south of Sarita, has agreed to sell its assets over three years to repay about $2 billion in debt, Matt Dallas, Babcock & Brown spokesman, said. After these assets are sold, the firm will cease to exist, Dallas said.
The state's electricity regulator has set in motion a process that will more than triple the capacity of infrastructure to carry electricity from West Texas wind farms to the state's big cities. The Public Utility Commission of Texas cleared 13 companies to build transmission lines at a total projected cost of nearly $5 billion - a move that could jump-start construction of additional wind turbines in the Concho Valley and across West Texas, local leaders said.
A wind-farm developer with a troubled parent but big plans for the Panhandle tried Tuesday to confirm its commitment to the project. Babcock & Brown Renewable Holdings filed a letter Tuesday with the Public Utilities Commission explaining why it withdrew its letter of credit for a 1,000-megawatt wind farm it still plans to build in Carson and Gray counties.
Turbines at two new wind farms in Kenedy County have begun spinning, but it likely will be several more months before all 200 of them are operating, a spokeswoman for the two companies said. ...Officials with both companies have said they are not sure when all turbines will be operating. However, ERCOT says all of Gulf Winds' turbines are expected to be online by September 2010.
Texas' main electric grid operator is proposing $3 billion in new high-voltage transmission line projects over the next five years, according to a report released Wednesday. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas' annual report does not include the approximately $5 billion in projects proposed to connect West Texas wind power to parts of the state with the highest demand for electricity.
Gillespie County Commissioners adopted a resolution opposing the development of transmission line routes other than the approved Public Utility Commission (PUC) plan Monday morning during their regular meeting. Al Weinzierl, steering committee member for an informal group of Harper citizens opposed to the construction of private transmission lines, presented the resolution to the court. Landowners in Harper were first contacted in late July by Hilliard Energy, a Midland-based company trying to negotiate 180-foot land easements on behalf of Florida Power and Light (FPL) Energy for a private transmission line separate from the approved PUC line.
Falling energy prices have forced billionaire oilman and investor T. Boone Pickens to trim spending on his renewable energy campaign and put his West Texas wind farm project on hold. When Pickens launched his plan this summer to boost the use of wind and natural gas to ease American dependence on foreign oil, gasoline prices were at a record $4.11 a gallon and oil prices were at $147 a barrel.
A former Public Utility Commission chairman discussed the growth of wind power in Texas during an annual meeting of Save Our Scenic Hill Country Environment held yesterday in Fredericksburg. ...The local group, which held their annual meeting yesterday at the Central Texas Electrical Co-op building, opposes construction of wind turbines and private transmission lines in the Hill Country.
A falling section of a lattice tower used for wind measurements caused the death of a contract worker on Sunday at a Kenedy County wind farm, his employer said Tuesday. Matthew Peterson, a 25-year-old test technician, died while working at Babcock and Brown Ltd.'s Gulf Winds project ...The Kenedy County Sheriff's Office was called to the wind farm at about 6 p.m. on Sunday. Peterson, employed out of GEC's Seattle office, was working with another man when the injury occurred, Richardsen said. The other man was not injured, he added.
Although T. Boone Pickens has become somewhat of a celebrity as of late - giving speeches and appearing on national television in interviews and commercials - the Oklahoma native is finding falling energy prices are making it difficult for his eponymous Pickens Plan to gain traction. Furthermore, a host of other outside factors have cropped up to make the Texas oilman's push for renewable energy increasingly difficult ...Depressed fuel prices, while easier on consumers' wallets, hinder efforts to persuade companies and individuals to invest in renewable energy resources, especially when combined with a shortage of discretionary cash.
T. Boone Pickens' $10 billion wind farm - the cornerstone of his plan to build thousands of wind turbines from Texas to Canada - is about to be downsized because the oil tycoon can't raise money in the current credit crunch, the billionaire confirmed to the Observer. ...Asked about his plans to build a giant wind farm in the Texas Panhandle, Pickens said: "I've started it, but let's don't go into that, my project is getting ready to get downsized pretty quick. "You can't get financing," he said. "But that will all come back."
According to wind developer FPL, wind conditions over the 3rd financial quarter were the least productive in the last 3 decades in the Great Plains -- go figure. Over the quarter, wind power generation came in 38% below expected totals, down 47% in September alone.
Higher than expected construction costs has a wind-tower manufacturing company asking for more money -- $700,000, to be exact -- from the city of Abilene's economic development arm. According to Development Corporation of Abilene records, Tower Tech Systems, Inc., now estimate construction and equipment costs will reach $27 million, or about $7 million more as was estimated in DCOA's original assistance package.
Wind power developer Higher Perpetual Energy and turbine manufacturer DeWind are on their way to spending about $1.2 billion to boost wind energy in the Panhandle. The plan is for a total of 310 turbines across the region in three years. The pair are finishing two small wind farms, with two larger ones on the drawing board. "The small ones will be very profitable," said David Tatton, president of Higher Perpetual Energy. "But they are also test projects for the teams working together."
More than 100 people gathered at the Morgan Mill Community Center Oct. 13 to hear more information about the wind turbine industry. Robert Weatherford and Bill Renfro from Fredericksburg gave a presentation about how Gillespie County residents have handled wind turbine companies in their area. According to a meeting report from Gary Key, a non-profit organization supported by more than 300 residents encouraged companies to consider areas in West Texas that produce more wind.
Three years after the courts ruled against their claim to their ancestors' land, members of the Balli family said they'll keep fighting. Since July, about 40 family members have staged protests against the developer of a wind farm, claiming it is intruding on their land claim awarded about 200 years ago by the King of Spain. "They're trespassing on our property," said Nicholas Balli, a mechanic in Harlingen.
Texas utility regulators urged transmission companies to agree on who will build $5 billion in new power lines needed to unleash the state's abundant wind generation, rather than force a state utility panel to hold a lengthy proceeding. ...Meanwhile, the pace of wind-turbine installation has begun to slow from the break-neck speed seen in the past two years to allow the grid to catch up, according to developers and the Texas grid operator.
Advocating local control to approve or disapprove of the installation of industrial wind farms in any Texas county, Gillespie County Judge Mark Stroeher testified before a State Senate committee Monday. “Local county officials are in the best position to judge whether or not a wind project makes sense in their particular area based on all the relevant factors, including the desires of the citizens,” Stroeher said.
Wind turbines will whirl through the State Capitol and stir up a storm on the Senate's agenda today as the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce plans to discuss current industry regulations and practices associated with the turbines. The committee will hear testimony from the Public Utility Commission of Texas on the siting process for wind turbines, wind generation industry representatives on the impact of industry regulation and local land owners on the private property rights. Members of the public also can participate in the discussions.