Articles from Texas
Jack County residents debate value of alternative energy source A gathering of people in Jacksboro on Monday might go down in the books as an early skirmish in a looming battle that could pit neighbor against neighbor and play out in courtrooms across the region. The issue is wind.
A gathering of people in Jacksboro on Monday might go down in the books as an early skirmish in a looming battle that could pit neighbor against neighbor and play out in courtrooms across the region. The issue is wind.
Irish renewable energy company Airtricity said on Tuesday it had secured $85 million in equity funding to help develop its Sand Bluff wind farm project near Big Spring, Texas. “We are pleased to have entered into this equity financing with investors led by JPMorgan Capital Corporation,” Airtricity Chief Executive Eddie O’Connor said in a statement. Airtricity said its 90 megawatt Sand Bluff wind farm, which is under construction, was expected to start commercial operation during the second quarter of 2007. The deal is the latest in a series of agreements to secure funding for a number of wind farms planned by privately owned Airtricity, in the United States, Ireland and the UK.
Residents of Jack and surrounding counties nearly filled a school auditorium Monday to hear speakers presented by a group opposing wind turbines in the region. Jack County Concerned Landowners, which hosted the forum, invited residents of Archer, Cooke, Montague, Palo Pinto, Wichita, Wise and Young counties to attend. Arguing against development of wind energy were Jack Hunt, president and CEO of King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas, Thomas Hewson, an energy and environmental consultant, and Steven Thompson, a Houston attorney specializing in environmental law and wind energy.
The Panhandle could be a step closer to plugging into the electric market downstate on Monday.
Trial of a lawsuit against FPL Energy, owner of a wind farm in Taylor and Nolan counties, has been postponed until Dec. 4. Several property owners in southwest Taylor County sued the company in February 2005 in connection with its plans then to build the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. The Horse Hollow project, with a third phase recently completed, was dedicated Thursday. FPL Energy claims Horse Hollow is the world’s largest wind farm.
FPL Energy, LLC, a subsidiary of FPL Group (NYSE:FPL) today hosted about 200 guests near Abilene to dedicate the world's largest wind farm - the 735 MW Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center located in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas.
Reaffirming their mission as “stewards of land and livestock,” members of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association adopted policy Oct. 13 calling for enhanced government support for environmental conservation, an independent evaluation of industrial wind farms and efforts to address the growing shortage of large-animal veterinarians.
In years past, “Texas’ biggest fan,” a 120-foot wind-turbine blade owned by the Dallas power company TXU Corp., received little notice when it was displayed in Austin. This year, it drew its share of gawkers as well as reporters and protesting environmentalists. The blade was planted on an extra-long flatbed truck on 18th Street just east of Congress Avenue, or, perhaps more to the symbolic point, around the corner from the Public Utility Commission, which may be scrutinizing the company for manipulating power rates. The spot was also within blocks of the Capitol, where Gov. Rick Perry has been rallying support for the company over its controversial proposal for 11 new or expanded coal-burning power plants for the state.
Participants in Monday’s bus tour through this area’s wind farms laughed as Greg Wortham reminded them that “100 percent of zero is zero.” Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium, served as the group’s tour guide on the trip sponsored by the Floydada Economic Development Corporation. That particular part of the tour conversation was directed at royalty negotiations, but Wortham took a similar stand when the focus turned to economic development. As an example of the positive aspects of the wind energy industry on local economies, he talked about the Blackwell Consolidated Independent School District. Officials there had courted the wind industry and were reaping the benefits of that effort. Other districts, Wortham said, refused to work with the developers and those developers moved to the next county.
A bus loaded with 51 residents from Floyd County and the surrounding area pulled away from the Floydada Economic Development Corp. on Monday morning, headed for a wind energy tour here. The tour of the wind farms in the Sweetwater area was put together by the Floydada EDC. Those on the bus came back to Floydada with two messages: in order for wind energy to succeed in this area the region must gain access to a transmission line, and landowners should work together to provide acreage for the wind projects.
An assurance from Gov. Rick Perry about the future of wind energy is already boosting spirits in Odessa. Neil McDonald, economic development director of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, said he is now talking with three wind power-generation companies interested in the Odessa area. McDonald acknowledged that Perry’s announcement will help those negotiations along as well as possibly bringing more wind-power representatives to West Texas. McDonald said it was still too early to identify the companies.
On an April afternoon in Dallas, not long after parts of the state had lost power in a series of rolling blackouts, Gov. Rick Perry made a get-tough proclamation. “We’re not going to let the bureaucrats jerk us around,” he said. The governor was talking about electricity that day — specifically 11 coal-fired plants proposed by TXU — and the bureaucrats he challenged weren’t those in Washington but the ones in the state government. Perry stood shoulder-to-shoulder with John Wilder, TXU’s CEO, when he made the pronouncement. The “bureaucrats won’t be allowed to hold up approval” for the TXU plants, Perry said. His support of those plants has become a hot issue in his race for re-election. Perry called last year’s blackouts a “wake-up” call for a state that needs more energy, but his major rivals say the state can find a more environmentally friendly way to meet that challenge.
We don’t mean to bash wind. There is nothing wrong with harnessing the wind for electricity production, and 1.5 MW per windmill is quite a lot of power – and even one-fifth of that is quite nice for a low- (but not zero-) polluting renewable source. But we need to be realistic. Wind power is a lot like hydropower. It is a good source. But, like hydro, which can never be found in flat Kansas, there are requirements of topography and climate for windmills to work. Searching for all locations, we will max out wind power in a few decades, and it will never satisfy more than a very small percentage of U.S. and world energy needs. Editor's Note: The monthly power output data provided by operating wind projects to the US Dept. of Energy on EIA-Form 906 records an average capacity factor of 29% for 2005.
The state of Texas will partner with private-sector parties to invest more than $10 billion in new wind energy infrastructure, Gov. Rick Perry said Monday. The wind energy initiative will diversify the state's energy production, clean up the air and help Texas surpass its renewable energy goals, Perry said in an announcement Monday at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he has received a $10 billion investment guarantee from wind energy developers in exchange for the state’s assurance that the necessary power transmission lines will be built. Should the development come to fruition, the state would gain about 10,000 megawatts of power supplied by wind, enough to light up about 2.3 million homes. “Private companies are putting up their money instead of taxpayers putting up their money,” Perry said while flanked by executives from wind developers at Southern Methodist University. “The state of Texas will ensure we build the transmission capacity needed to deliver zero emission power source.” The agreement, though, is not formal and does not come with any binding contract between the state and energy companies touting plans to install more wind power generation, largely in West Texas.
Across sparely settled, middle-of-nowhere Nolan County, Ussery is among dozens of ranchers joining an energy boom that has helped Texas surge past California as the new leader in wind power. Long known for its oil and gas riches, Texas now produces enough environmentally friendly wind power to light 600,000 homes, and more wind farms are on the way. That's in sharp contrast with Massachusetts, where developers have struggled to complete the controversial Cape Wind project, which would put a 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Nantucket. The project has been before Congress several times over the years -- with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, leading the fight against it.
The former chief executive officer of Superior Renewable Energy says plans for a major offshore wind farm near Padre Island could sink before the first turbine is ever placed in the Gulf of Mexico. “The economics today don’t work,” said John Calaway, the former CEO. “It’s underwater. The numbers just don’t work right now.”
MUNCY — More than 200 people from across the region gathered at the Friends Unity Center between Floydada and Lockney to hear a presentation on wind energy Monday night. Featured speaker at the meeting, which was sponsored by the Floydada Economic Development Corporation, was Lisa Chavarria, an attorney with McElroy, Sullivan and Miller in Austin who specializes in wind energy contracts. Ms. Chavarria explained that she is aware of seven development companies seeking leases in the area. Those companies are large, well-established and well-financed, and that is a good sign, she said. The purpose behind Ms. Chavarria’s presentation was to help local and area landowners know how to go about establishing leases.
Just last fall, it appeared the Texas coal rush was rolling ahead like an unstoppable locomotive. Skyrocketing natural gas prices were pushing electricity prices up, and electric demand was growing. Coal, relatively cheap and relatively dirty, seemed the reasonable alternative. Gov. Rick Perry last fall ordered regulators to expedite coal plant applications, and environmentalists feared the plants would be rushed through and rubber-stamped. Companies such as TXU subsequently lined up earlier this year to file a batch of new applications, resulting in 17 proposed coal units, including 10 in Central Texas. But this summer, the coal train has hit some rough rails.