Articles from Texas
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.”
Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. will form a joint venture with American Electric Power Co., owner of the biggest U.S. network of high-voltage electricity lines, to build transmission lines in Texas. The venture will take on as much as $1 billion of projects in the next several years, Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric said Monday in a prepared statement. American Electric will contribute $100 million of existing power-line projects, and MidAmerican will contribute cash to the 50-50 venture.
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.
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.
John Richey of Chico is concerned about global warming and thinks that anything people can do to help the cause is worthwhile. With that in mind, Richey attended a meeting about wind turbines in Jacksboro on Monday night. The speakers at the meeting – held before a packed house in the Jacksboro High School auditorium – were generally opposed to wind turbines.
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.
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.
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.