Articles from Texas
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.
Texas utility regulators were adamant yesterday in declaring the coming end to a program known for aiding wind energy, even as they expressed support for completing a project in the state’s Panhandle region. ...Nelson said she thought about the topic a lot and was “diametrically opposed to the concept of treating wind differently than every other generation asset.” She said congestion can point to where more transmission is needed.
The price of wind power is now half the 2009 rate the utility locked into place. That has left the LCRA, which sells wholesale power to dozens of Central Texas communities, mulling a costly, fraught escape from the contract. In papers filed in federal court in late August, the LCRA is asking for an arbitrator to confirm that it would be penalized no more than $60 million should it break the contract.
In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, the mighty state of Texas was asleep. The honky-tonks in Austin were shuttered, the air-conditioned office towers of Houston were powered down, and the wind whistled through the dogwood trees and live oaks on the gracious lawns of Preston Hollow. Out in the desolate flats of West Texas, the same wind was turning hundreds of wind turbines, producing tons of electricity at a time when comparatively little supply was needed.
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.
In summary, we have a foreign corporation that stands to receive Billions of dollars of subsidies, paid for with your tax dollars that will build a wind farm, which will provide marginal, if any, benefit to anyone in our counties. In the process they will cause devastating destruction of the scenic Hill Country while destroying the tourism and hunting industry in our counties. Perhaps, all citizens of both Mason and Menard counties would be well served to do everything possible to halt the construction of this proposed wind farm.
City leaders worked hard to block this wind farm eventually annexing a lot of the property out there to have more control over what built. Ironically the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now blocked it on its own.
"We designed this house for my young boys to enjoy being out in the country, and every year that we wait to build my boys get a year older," Torno said. "We're missing out on opportunities to enjoy our property out there."
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.
"Wind in Brown County does not produce much electricity, it produces a lot of production tax credit and none of that ... stays in the county," Dr. Paul Burns, who owns land in May, said in his speech at the luncheon.
SB 933, the bill on PUC oversight of transmission projects that would cross ERCOT's boundaries, will require the developers of such projects to secure a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the commission.
Lubbock Power & Light officials are anticipating House representatives will approve SB 931 and are helping the West Texas Municipal Power Association to maximize the value of RECs WTMPA currently holds before the bill is implemented. If SB 931 is passed by the majority of the Legislature the bill would take effect Sept.1. If it’s passed by two-thirds of the Legislature, the bill will take effect immediately after Gov. Greg Abbott signs it.
Industry-friendly policies helped Texas retain its position last year as the nation’s top wind energy producer, but partisan politics now threaten that standing, wind advocates said last week as they released an annual report on the state of the industry.
The program, established in 1999, had called for 10,000 megawatts of wind and solar power by 2025. But buoyed by improved turbine technology and an $7 billion transmission line project connecting West Texas to urban centers to the east, Texas passed that goal five years ago. It now counts 12,800 megawatts of wind energy capacity — at times enough to generate a quarter of the electricity on the grid.
With wind farms being built closer and closer to Brown County, those opposed are stepping forward. Rancher Paul Burns and his family have owned their ranch for more than 140 years. Seven years ago, Burns says he was approached and asked for his land to be used for wind turbines.
If a Texas Republican has his way, the state will end its renewable portfolio standard (RPS), undo the billion-dollar competitive renewable energy zones (CREZ) initiative and relinquish its status as the No. 1 state for wind energy generation.
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.
“The taxpayers did not get what they bargained for,” said Todd Harlow, of Dallas law firm Cowles and Thompson, who is representing the city and the City of San Angelo Development Corp. in the suit against Martifer-Hirschfeld.
Billions of dollars in Texas wind projects remain in a holding pattern, just waiting for the final go-ahead on the federal production tax credit.