Articles filed under Energy Policy from Texas

"Robin Hood" could take school money

Meanwhile, lawmakers are trying to pass House Bill 1273 and the bill says that money given by wind energy farms to wealthy districts need to be part of "Robin Hood." "Robin Hood" will then distribute the money through out other districts. Now some school districts in the Big Country can be heavily affected if House Bill 1273 passes.
23 Apr 2009

ERCOT: Generation interconnection requests for wind and coal surge in March

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. added 535 MW of new gas-fired capacity in March, while generation interconnection requests for wind and coal projects surged ...As of March 31, ERCOT is now tracking 51,897 MW of generation interconnection requests for wind capacity, a 2,141-MW increase from 49,756 MW as of Feb. 28. Generation requests for coal projects jumped to 9,731 from 8,126 MW, while gas requests rose to 27,488 from 27,187 MW in February.
17 Apr 2009

Gone with the wind

The Gillespie County Commissioners have decided not to pursue local wind farm regulation and will not hold a public meeting on the matter, according to County Judge Mark Stroeher. ...State Senator Troy Fraser filed legislation last month to allow the county commissioners to restrict wind farm construction and said his office immediately began receiving complaints from landowners worried that their property rights might be violated.
15 Apr 2009

Capacity market in ERCOT needed for new baseload growth: execs

Perhaps the biggest mistake Texas power players are making during the current financial crisis is not implementing a capacity market to spur investment in new baseload projects, a group of panelists told a Gulf Coast Power Association conference Thursday in Houston. A substantial growth in wind generation in Texas has left a need for new baseload generation.
3 Apr 2009

Pickens faces headwinds on clean-tech plans

His company purchased 687 wind turbines from General Electric for $2 billion that can produce 1,000 MW and will be delivered in 2011. But there aren't yet any transmission lines from his wind park to the Texas grid to deliver the electricity to the Texans. Initially he was going to build the transmission lines himself, but now that's "questionable," he said during a stop in San Francisco Wednesday, part of a tour to promote his alternative-energy plan. A transmission line to the west or east from the Texas Panhandle, he told members of the press, is "a little bit big for us."
26 Mar 2009

Texas PUC seeks to free up congested lines for wind power

Wind-farm developers, retail electric providers and others in Texas outlined their recommended approaches for dealing with overloaded power lines in areas with thousands of megawatts of wind farms, according to filings posted at the Public Utility Commission of Texas Thursday. Such congestion forces the curtailment of wind-turbine operations, so parties want to establish a system for priority dispatch of power generated by wind-turbines in the "competitive renewable energy zones" in Texas.
26 Mar 2009

County: Not in our backyard

Kerr County commissioners have sent a message to Lower Colorado River Authority Transmission Services Corporation officials regarding possible routes for transmission lines in the area. "Go to another county," said Pct. 1 Commissioner Buster Baldwin during Monday's commission meeting. County commissioners also asked for the transmission lines to follow existing rights-of-way.
24 Mar 2009

Property rights concerns raised

Concerned about the possible effects of proposed wind power legislation on their property rights, some Fredericksburg area landowners have voiced opposition to a bill by State Senator Troy Fraser that would allow the Gillespie County Commissioners' Court to restrict wind farm construction. "Once the bill was filed, the phones started lighting up." Fraser said. "We need to gauge both support and opposition."
18 Mar 2009

Wind farm control bill filed

The Gillespie County Commissioners' Court will be given the power to restrict wind farm construction if legislation filed Monday by State Senator Troy Fraser makes it through the Texas Legislature. "I think we have a good chance of getting it through my committee and through the senate," Fraser said. "It is very clear that the county judge and commissioners are asking for this authority."
4 Mar 2009

Fraser files legislation to allow Gillespie county to regulate wind energy generation

Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) filed legislation on Monday to authorize the Gillespie County Commissioners Court to regulate the construction of wind energy electric generating facilities in the unincorporated areas of the county. Senate Bill 1226 specifically will allow Gillespie County to prohibit or restrict the location of a facility in all or part of the county.
2 Mar 2009

Wind power must be managed to ensure electric supply

It was nearly a year ago that a sudden drop in the wind out in West Texas played havoc with the state's biggest electricity grid, as backup generation failed to quickly fill the gap and emergency safeguards barely contained what could have been a major power disruption. ...While the current financial crisis has curtailed investment in wind power, the growing certainty of U.S. legislation putting a cost on carbon emissions should keep wind power growing, other speakers said.
13 Feb 2009

Solar, alternative energy being pushed in Texas Legislature

For the last decade, when most people have thought of renewable energy in Texas, they have usually thought of wind. But this year, solar and other forms of renewable energy are starting to get a place at the table at the Legislature. Legislation including incentives and rebates could pave the way ...Today, legislators and environmentalists will hold statewide news conferences to draw attention to solar energy.
2 Feb 2009

Texas finalizes plan to expand wind lines

Texas utility regulators on Thursday awarded nine companies rights to build $5 billion in new electric transmission lines to move power from windy areas to big cities like Dallas and San Antonio, a move aimed at doubling renewable energy supplies. ...But rapid addition of turbines in the western half of the state outstripped the ability of the existing high-voltage network to move the power to the state's largest cities, creating costly grid congestion in 2008.
29 Jan 2009

Texas wind farms paying people to take power

A power producer typically gets paid for the power it generates. In Texas, some wind energy generators are paying to have someone take power off their hands. Because of intense competition, the way wind tax credits work, the location of the wind farms and the fact that the wind often blows at night, wind farms in Texas are generating power they can't sell. To get rid of it, they are paying the state's main grid operator to accept it. $40 a megawatt hour is roughly the going rate.
10 Dec 2008

Frequent negative power prices in the West region of ERCOT result from wasteful renewable power subsidies

The negative prices appear to be the result of the large installed capacity of wind generation. Wind generators face very small costs of shutting down and starting back up, but they do face another cost when shutting down: loss of the Production Tax Credit and state Renewable Energy Credit revenue which depend upon generator output. It is economically rational for wind power producers to operate as long as the subsidy exceeds their operating costs plus the negative price they have to pay the market. Even if the market value of the power is zero or negative, the subsidies encourage wind power producers to keep churning the megawatts out.
20 Nov 2008

Credit crunch, lower natural gas, transmission congestion put brakes on wind power

When investor Boone Pickens put a hold on a huge wind power project in the Texas Panhandle that he had announced in the spring, he wasn't alone. A number of wind power developers and researchers say the ongoing credit crisis, together with transmission congestion in West Texas and falling natural gas prices, will slow the state's breakneck expansion of wind capacity. ...But there also is a peculiar wrinkle in wind power's finance that makes the current environment doubly challenging. "Most wind projects in the U.S. are funded by investors with an appetite for tax benefits," said David Groberg, vice president of Invenergy Wind, a Chicago-based company with 690 megawatts of wind capacity in Texas.
17 Nov 2008

Texas adjusts its grid for wind

The major problem with wind as a power source is that it doesn't blow all the time. To remedy that, Texas is spending $30 million a year to bolster its back-up power, in a change to the electricity grid that began on Nov. 1. ...
13 Nov 2008

Renewable-energy sticker shock

The Lone Star State's renewable-energy mandates - combined with the federal government's generous tax credit for wind-energy production - have helped Texas become the nation's leading installer of wind-energy capacity. You won't find much opposition here to wind energy's rapid expansion, because so much money is pouring into the state. It's all fun and games - until Texas consumers pay the long-term price for everyone else's short-term gain. And pay they will. In my just published study, Texas Wind Energy: Past, Present, and Future (PDF here), we estimate that forcing even modest levels of wind-energy generation on Texans will cost ratepayers and taxpayers up to $4 billion a year, and at least $60 billion through 2025.
28 Oct 2008

Texas study cites high cost of harnessing wind

Texas consumers and taxpayers could pay more than $2.2 billion a year in subsidies and higher transmission costs to take advantage of the state's abundant wind-generation resources, a free-market research group said on Tuesday. The state's current push to accelerate use of wind-generated electricity is "costing, not saving, Texans billions of dollars," said Bill Peacock, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's Center for Economic Freedom. ...By 2025, the study said the price tag could total $60 billion as Texas reaches 10,000 megawatts of wind capacity.
28 Oct 2008
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