Library filed under General from Texas
"Put yourself in some logical shoes on this and ask yourself: If you and your significant other were buying a home right now... Would you want to buy one sitting underneath a wind turban?" 'Clay County Against Wind Farms,' John Greer, said. Or within eye shot of a wind turban? It doesn't make any sense at all. And so land values are the ones most significantly affected by this."
Leading the charge against the wind turbines is the Texas Hill Country Heritage Association (THCHA). The determined group of 485 members, founded in 2011, aims to “protect the Texas Hill Country’s heritage, property, environment and economy.” THCHA has placed several editorials in the Mason County News opposing the project and engaged Braun & Gresham, the Dripping Springs law firm that specializes in rural landowner management, to assist with strategy.
The high winds that drive the wind turbines typically occur at night when demand is low or on the decline. What can occur, and has, during high-wind times is real-time wholesale power prices have dropped into single-digit or negative territory as the grid operator reacts to an over-generation situation or the possibility of an over-generation situation, when there is too much power on the grid and not enough load to absorb it.
MASON — They first started appearing in West Texas, where the wind howls through oil rigs. Then it was the Panhandle, and small towns along I-20, like Sweetwater, where cattle farms have given way to giant, white spinning blades.
Republican State Senator Troy Fraser convened hearings on renewable energy subsidies. Since Texas has already far surpassed the original RPS goals, he doesn’t think they need the mandate any longer. It was quite a turnaround. A decade ago, Fraser shaped legislation to expand the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
With the support of the state’s Public Utility Commission, Fraser wants to freeze the state’s Renewable Energy Credit program, ending a requirement that power retailers buy credits from wind and solar farms to meet state renewable standards. Also, the $7 billion-and-counting Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project, which has constructed 3,600 miles of transmission lines to bring wind power to Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Austin, would officially end.
Pusley said he's not opposed to wind farms, but added they belong in more rural areas, and said Apex Clean Energy in particular hasn't listened to community input on its Chapman Ranch development. "They're not suited for being built up against the city limits of Corpus Christi," he said.
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.