Articles filed under Energy Policy from Texas
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.
To meet the demands of a rapidly swelling population, Texas needs to expand and diversify its electric generation capacity. It also must build cleaner, less polluting power plants. That's why it is good to see TXU propose to build as many as six nuclear power reactors at up to three sites.
Houston-based Reliant has sparked a debate over subsidies that has the EPA, citizens and consumer advocates concerned
The thing about West Texas that you can't ignore, that you can never forget, is the wind.
The Texas project, announced in June with plants scheduled to begin operations in 2014, is expected to be the first in a new wave of economical and emissions-free nuclear power plants.
For environmental and geopolitical reasons, the U.S. must reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Traditional coal-fired plants are dirty and contribute to foul air problems in North Texas and elsewhere. Coal gasification, a cleaner technology, is relatively untested on a large scale. Wind and solar power are clean but insufficient. Natural gas is becoming more expensive.
In June, Austin-based Green Mountain Energy Company – self-described as "one of the nation's largest retail providers of cleaner electricity products," generated from sources such as wind, solar, water, biomass, and natural gas – announced the crosstown relocation of its headquarters from aquifer-sensitive west Austin to an award-winning green office tower downtown, in anticipation of growth and expansion. By the time the move was complete, however, the energy provider had discontinued servicing about 480,000 customers in Ohio and Pennsylvania, laid off 15% of its workforce, and found itself facing suit in federal court. Green Mountain blames regulatory and market obstacles for its woes, but its critics cite an over-reliance on natural gas and a lack of investment in the very clean energy sources the company has made its trademark.