Articles from Texas
Steve Thompson, attorney for a group of rural Taylor County landowners who on Tuesday lost their lawsuit against the Horse Hollow wind farm, said Wednesday that he’s uncertain what avenue to take on appealing the case. His clients have 30 days from when the verdict was reached to file an appeal, unless they file a motion for a new trial, a move that would extend the deadline to 90 days. The appeal would be heard by the 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland. A 42nd District Court jury on Tuesday declined to find FPL Energy, owner of the Horse Hollow project, liable for creating a nuisance for 11 neighboring properties. Motions for new trials are usually denied, Thompson said. The Houston attorney said that it was too soon after the trial ended to decide which route to take.
‘’Our motto is going to be ‘Remember the Alamo!,”’ Rankin said. ‘’For Texas to win its independence, it had to lose the Alamo first. But then it won at San Jacinto. We’re definitely headed for San Jacinto.'’ Plaintiffs attorney Steve Thompson said the verdict was the first of its kind in Texas. ‘’This was just the first salvo,'’ he said. Thompson said he had filed lawsuits contesting proposed wind farms in Jack and Cooke counties in north Texas.
Direct Energy has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Horizon Wind Energy's Lone Star Wind Farm. Horizon is a Houston-based subsidiary of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and develops and operates wind farms across the country. Direct Energy, a power retailer also based in Houston, said it will purchase all energy output and Renewable Energy Credits from Horizon's new 200-megawatt Lone Star Wind project under construction 15 miles northeast of Abilene.
In a case watched closely by the wind industry, a jury in Texas has found a huge wind farm not responsible for creating a private nuisance - and awarded the plaintiffs nothing. It was one of the nation’s first nuisance lawsuits against a wind farm. A jury of 10 women and two men found that Juno Beach, Fla.-based FPL Energy LLC (FPLE) did not create a private nuisance when it constructed the massive Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, the world’s largest wind farm, near Abeline, Texas. The trial judge Weeks issued directed verdicts in favor of FPLE against two additional plaintiffs. The case was closely watched by energy industry observers because of the potential impact on future wind farm construction.
New wind turbines under construction in West Texas could power the homes of up to 70,000 CPS Energy customers, the utility said this week. The 181 turbines are expected to begin supplying power to CPS Energy by late spring.
A two-week-old trial over how much noise the ‘’world’s largest wind farm'’ produces and whether that noise devalues property is in the hands of jurors. A 10-woman, two-man jury deliberated four hours Monday before calling it a day. The jury will take up where it left off at 9 a.m. today in 42nd District Court.
The council, without hesitation, did vote unanimously to amend the Lewisville Code of Ordinances to prohibit the use of wind turbines for the generation of electric power within the city limits of Lewisville. The council agreed that, at least until technology improves so the wind turbines will create less noise, that they will not be allowed in the city limits.
Defense testimony wrapped up Thursday in a lawsuit against a Taylor County wind farm, ending the evidence phase and setting the stage for closing arguments Monday morning.
Texas has surpassed California as the country’s top wind-energy producer, but the new technology is clashing with old ranching ways Texas ranchers have embraced helicopters for herding, wireless Internet access for keeping an eye on the futures markets and microchips for tracking their cattle, but there is one piece of modern technology that is sparking a range war in the vast open spaces of the state — the windmill turbine, which opponents say is noisy, ugly, dangerous to wildlife and a tax boondoggle to boot.
Twenty-five landowners and two service companies were dismissed Tuesday as defendants in a lawsuit brought by 11 rural Taylor County landowners who objected to the construction of the Horse Hollow wind farm. The dismissal left FPL Energy, an affiliate of Florida Power & Light, as the sole defendant in the case. The dismissal came at the plaintiffs’ request as a jury was picked to start hearing the case. Lawyers expect the trial to last two weeks in 42nd District Court.
Opposing attorneys in a lawsuit against a Taylor County wind energy farm expect to finish selecting a jury this morning and then make opening arguments and call witnesses for testimony. The suit was filed in February 2005 against Florida Power & Light and affiliated companies by rural Taylor County residents who claim the Horse Hollow wind energy farm damaged their properties. The lawsuit seeks to stop the project - or, failing that, to recover damages.
Tierra Energy LLC announced today that it has secured a contract to build a $55 million wind farm that will supply a Wyoming power company with renewable energy. Austin-based Tierra Energy's subsidiary, Happy Jack Windpower, will provide Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power with wind-generated energy over a 20-year period. Cheyenne Light Fuel & Power is a subsidiary of Rapid City, S.D.-based Black Hills Corp. (NYSE:BKH).
His distaste for wind-generated energy may have begun as a “not in my back yard” sentiment. But as he learned more about the industry, Rankin said, his attitude hardened. With several of his neighbors, Rankin filed one of the first anti-wind-industry lawsuits in the state, arguing that wind farms are a public nuisance that do little to help the state’s energy needs. “One of the things that really energized us is how quietly, how stealthily and surreptitiously these people worked behind the scenes,” Rankin said. “The lack of regulation, combined with the state renewable-energy mandate, is making Texas a prime spot for these wind companies. But I can tell you, nobody wants to live next to them.”
A major wind-energy production alliance is scheduled to be announced Monday in Round Rock, adding to the state's growing profile in the wind business. TECO-Westinghouse Motor Co., a leading manufacturer of electric motors and generators, will announce an alliance with a California company to produce wind turbine components at its Round Rock facility.
TXU on Friday revealed the first details of how it plans to cut emissions by 20 percent while building 11 new coal-burning power units. The Dallas-based company filed a permit application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to add pollution-control equipment to its existing Martin Lake coal plant in Rusk County. That plant has three coal-burning units now and would add a fourth under TXU's plans. The Martin Lake retrofit is the first of three that TXU has promised as part of its new coal strategy. Similar announcements are expected by the year's end for the three-unit Monticello plant in Titus County and the two-unit Big Brown plant in Freestone County. Each of those plants is to add one unit.
Texas is in a nationwide race for a giant new U.S. Department of Energy-backed wind turbine research and development center.
Wood, who now is in the business of developing clean power generation and independent transmission, believes the state needs a balanced approach to power generation. "We need wind but we also need coal -- cleaned up as much as you can," Wood suggested, in addition to natural gas, which currently fuels more than half ERCOT's power.
But don`t throw out your electric bill just yet. Patton says we won`t ever get away from using power companies because even Lubbock sees a lazy day or two when the winds just won`t budge.
Greenblatt noted that while wind power could produce impressive amounts of peak energy during strong gusts, the biggest problem was wind power’s intermittency. The problem could be addressed by a process called compressed air energy storage, where excess energy could be used to pump compressed air into underground storage facilities that could include abandoned mines. When the wind was not blowing, he said, the compressed air could be tapped and combined with the burning of natural gas to create high-efficiency electrical generators approximating the efficiency levels of coal-fueled power plants.
TXU Corp. Chairman John Wilder said “everybody’s mad as a hornet” about Texas’ high electricity rates, but said increased supply of electricity that would come from 11 new coal-fired generating plants TXU wants to build would be the solution to Texas’ increasingly tight electricity supply. Wilder acknowledged that TXU probably won’t be able to achieve significant carbon dioxide emission reductions for years, perhaps as late as 2020, he said, but added “there is no perfect fuel for electricity generation........ Wind power, Wilder said, is inefficient because wind can’t be depended on to blow consistently at the right times “and besides, it costs 12-14 cents per kilowatt hour to make electricity from wind unless it is subsidized by the government.”