Library from Texas
The high cost of building wind farms and transmitting their electricity to population centers coupled with a reduced price advantage has slowed the growth of the industry nationwide. ...Texas has some of America's best wind acreage, but the wind blows hardest and most often during times of the day when Texas needs power the least. The question on whether wind power can deliver when needed the most tempers interest.
The City of Kerrville isn't impressed with one of the proposed routes, tying the wind farms of west Texas with San Antonio and beyond. The Lower Colorado River Authority says the late addition came after input from landowners in other parts of the Kerr County, who didn't want the routes disturbing their views either.
"Affordability is the elephant in the room. Clean, reliable and affordable energy-we have to [consider] all those three values," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "We have to be able to address cost as we go forward. We want clean energy, but it cannot come at any cost. We imperil our energy company to survive if we don't honor those values."
After record growth in U.S. wind power generation capacity in 2009, top industry executives at the American Wind Energy Association conference were pessimistic Tuesday about prospects for a strong repeat performance this year. But former President George W. Bush cheered up conference attendees with bullish comments on the future of renewable energy.
Gamesa Technology, based in Spain, signed contracts Monday with A&M and several affiliated entities calling for research on energy projects, including a turbine rated at a production capacity of 4.5 megawatts to be installed at WT's Nance Ranch. The company itself only makes a 2-megawatt turbine now and most land-based turbines don't exceed that.
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.
"We've used Texas as the poster child for wind energy for the last five to six years," American Wind Energy Association official Kathy Belyeu told a group of wind industry professionals Tuesday. ...A major rap on wind power is that in West Texas and the Panhandle the wind often blows little during peak periods for electricity consumption but blows more at night, when power demand is lower. That's a problem.
Turbines are popping up all over tornado alley - nearly 1,400 in windswept Nolan County alone. Every year, about 1,000 twisters crop up across the country. But no one knows what would happen if a high-intensity tornado struck a turbine.
Hundreds of miles of transmission line proposed Tuesday will ease the flow of cheap power in and out of the city's main source of energy. Lubbock customers will pay an unknown share of the $1.4 billion in projects directors of the Southwest Power Pool proposed stretching through Oklahoma and Kansas. ...But the real target are the huge markets along each coast, he said.
"We want to take our land and not change our farms and ranches, and make additional income," said Randy Darnell, who has leased about 1,000 acres to Buffalo Wind. "Wind looks inevitable, and we want to participate." Darnell and landowner Todd Vincent started talking about attracting a developer about two years ago.
Giant wind turbines dotting the Texas landscape have made the Lone Star State the nation's leader in the development of wind power, but they may also pose a hazard to military installations by interfering with crucial radar operations, state lawmakers were told Tuesday. The wind turbines could cause false signals on radar and endanger aerial maneuvers or produce erroneous information about storm conditions.
A final decision on the route of an electric line intended to carry wind power from West Texas through the Hill Country took a tumble Friday after the state agency nixed the options before it. The Public Utility Commission voted to send the route of the electric line, to be built and operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority, back to the drawing board. The river authority had spent years homing in on nearly a dozen possible routes for the line.
Property owners from all across the Hill Country are worried that saving the environment might mean destroying their view, their investments and their quality of life. ..."The state has made a policy of moving wind energy from where the wind blows to where people live, but we have to do it in a way that respects landowners," said Barry T. Smitherman, Public Utility Commission chairman.
This new report from Colorado's natural gas industry says increased use of wind energy indirectly results in raised pollution levels produced by some coal-fired power plants along the Front Range. The report recommends curbing the use of wind energy during the next one or two years to levels that match power output at existing natural gas-fired power plants -- and building more natural gas plants in the long term. The introductory sections of the report are provided below. To access the full document click on the link at the bottom of this page.
While Texas continues to enjoy its top U.S. ranking for installed wind capacity, not all power generators operating within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) are pleased with its growing prominence. In the past year, several initiatives relating to grid interconnection and the operational performance of wind turbines have been pushed through ERCOT's regulatory channells in an effort to stunt the proliferation of wind development in the state.
The movement toward investing in green energy sources has been picking up steam, helped by a big push from the White House to "make America energy-independent." But the movement also has brought out scam artists attempting to ride on its popularity and rip off unsuspecting investors.Not every alternative-energy investment is a rip-off, of course, but investors have to be able to tell the difference.
The Public Utility Commission gave informal approval Thursday to a schedule to restart wind-energy transmission development in the Panhandle. A joint proposal by interested parties like transmission builders puts Cross Texas Transmission filing for approval of its first segment May 3 and Sharyland Utilities' first filing June 14.
After a string of hearings, open houses and debates, the Public Utility Commission is preparing to make decisions in April on the hotly contested routes for the transmission lines bearing West Texas wind power to the central part of the state. On April 15, the PUC will take up a portion that runs from Fredericksburg to Kempner, which is just east of Lampasas, that will be operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority.
A sense of bitter resignation permeates the Hill Country over proposals for new electric transmission lines now advancing through state and federal regulatory processes. ..."The picture I have is, you know there's a burglar coming in your neighborhood but you don't know whose home he's going to hit," Campbell, 58, said Friday. "The problem is the burglar is the government, with the right of eminent domain."
A state judge has handed down her recommendation from a February hearing during which dozens of landowners spoke out on the route of a planned 345-kilovolt transmission line ending in Kempner that would cross or pass near their properties. The route recommended by Administrative Law Judge Wendy K. L. Harvel on March 18 is different from the line-builder's preferred route.