Articles filed under General from Texas
Reflecting a wider discomfort among some top state officials on renewable power, the state’s chief financial officer says the state should rethink its support for wind energy. Comptroller Susan Combs said that it was “time for wind to stand on its own two feet” as she released a report Tuesday encouraging lawmakers to discontinue subsidies for electricity generation.
A wind farm developer will pay Willacy County about $458,000 a year under a 10-year agreement tied to its second project, which will build 116 wind turbines.
Reliance on renewable energy would make the utility more vulnerable to rate increases. That's because on windless, cloudy days the utility will have to rely more on purchased power from the statewide grid, forcing the utility to pay whatever prices the market dictates.
"The assertion ... that the annexation of the Chapman Ranch will halt the development of the wind farm is a false belief. Under state law, the Chapman Ranch wind farm development is grandfathered — a right the company is willing to defend," Ferguson said. "Within this context, if the city elects to reject a reasonable compromise and pursues annexation, it will only serve to incentivize the company to fully build out the wind farm."
The battle over the wind farm in the Chapman Ranch area continues. Now the general manager of a local television station is saying the wind farm poses a public safety issue.
Wind power developers warn that making wind companies pay the same transmission rates as other generators will destroy Texas’ lead in wind power and undermine the economics of wind generation. [Public Utility Commission head, Donna] Nelson, however, claims that giving wind companies a pass is no longer necessary because the industry has been around long enough to figure out its economics.
Texas is the largest producer of wind energy in the United States, and research on how wind farms affect local, regional and even global climate is a large area of study. After speaking with Texas scientists and climatologists, we found conflicting results.
“We’re talking about a very obtrusive piece of equipment,” he said, “and it’s going to be noisy, and it’s going to be unattractive, and it’s going to devalue their land. The way I see it, that means it devalues tax revenues, too.”
"These are the first wind facilities to seek retirement in the ERCOT region," Robbie Searcy, a spokeswoman for the grid operator, said Monday. ...Ice storms that hit the region in November caused significant damage to the turbines at both facilities as well as the transmission system in West Texas, Stengel said.
The lights will stay on for the Texas households and businesses that are Energy Future's customers, partly because the Texas grid operator can forge special contracts to keep power flowing from ailing, but essential, plants. The company also will have cash, thanks in part to more than $11 billion in bankruptcy loans.
City councilman Rudy Garza told KRIS-6 news his colleagues on the council agree that a wind farm on the outskirts of town, including one now proposed near Chapman Ranch, is the wrong move.
On Monday it [wind] only contributed about 3.2 percent of electricity used during peak demand, perhaps tempering any perception that wind saved the day and kept parts of the grid from going dark in rolling blackouts. “It’s a nice story for wind, but it’s scary that they are relying on it on emergency situations. I think wind should be looked at as a buffer and that the grid should always have fossil fuel resources to prevent an event.”
Without federal subsides and tax abatements, Mr. Pena said the project is not feasible and cannot stand on its own merits. So that means we are not only giving them a pass in the county by not taxing them at 100 percent of market value but we also get to help pay for the construction of a project with our federal income taxes and increase electric rate that will bring minimal economic benefits to us locally.
Cascos made a motion on the matter and after several seconds of silence, asked that the matter be approved and that the county move forward with negotiation of tax abatement terms ...Precinct 2 Commissioner Ernie Hernandez seconded the motion, but amid the vote, Garza said he would abstain because he did not have enough information. Cascos then retracted his motion and the court voted to table the motion.
The project could meet an obstacle in the form of Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport's plans to extend its runway ...A longer runway would mean planes on approach would fly lower farther away from the airport, which could preclude construction of towering wind turbines.
Robert Guptill had the wind blown out of his sails earlier this month when the City Council turned down his request for a specific use permit to allow a wind turbine on his property. Guptill has tried for four years to get the council's approval for the project, which was rejected because of its height. At 43 feet, it's eight feet higher than the city ordinance allows.
On Thursday conservative representative State Rep. Scott Sanford, R-McKinney, filed legislation to remove a signature weapon from the wind energy arsenal. ...Wind power already generates almost 10,000 megawatts, but taking away the mandate to create energy would hurt the renewable energy credit trading system in place, Clark said.
EON AG agreed to sell a 50 percent stake in three U.S. wind farms to Danish pension fund PensionDanmark as Germany's biggest utility seeks to free up capital. ..."The return is very similar to what we can get on listed equities, though with a very limited downside risk," thanks to fixed prices negotiated on the power generated by the turbines over the next 15 years."
If you're looking for an eco-friendly way to cut your utility bills, wind power may not be it. While residential wind turbines are flooding the retail market, folks who live in Austin need to think hard before making the investment.
The prospect of the sale was first announced last month, when Otter Tail said it had a nonbinding letter of interest to sell DMI. The company said the economics of the wind power industry and expiring tax credits were hurting demand for turbines.