Although Texas leads the nation in wind development, you may be surprised to learn that Texas law concerning the wind is basically non-existent. Similarly, there is little to no statutory regulation of the industry. So far, wind farms have been located in remote rural settings; however, as wind turbine technology advances and the land and wind speed necessary for the efficient development of wind energy decreases (and becomes even more profitable), it will not be long before the fight over wind finds itself deeply entrenched in Texas courts. ...While water law and the law governing the rights of wild animals may help resolve the issue of wind ownership, the question remains as to whether the right to develop the wind is a right that is severable from the land. In looking for guidance, the state courts may choose to rely on an area of the law with which they are quite familiar: oil and gas law. It is well established in Texas that the mineral estate (i.e., oil, gas and other minerals) may be conveyed and reserved apart from the surface. Texas courts have also held that certain substances which are historically considered part of the surface estate (such as near surface lignite and gravel, as examples) may be severed from the surface estate.
Documents from Texas
The Plaintiffs acquired their properties with the intent of country living, enjoying the wildlife on their properties, some hunt on their properties, some let others hunt on their properties yet the Plaintiffs have suffered the following effects from the erection of the turbines: significant loss of use and enjoyment of their properties, negative impacts on the wildlife on their properties, interference with the ability to hunt and have others hunt on their properties, interference with the electrical functioning of their homes such as satellites, televisions, and the circuitry, destruction of the scenic countryside, a diminishing of the use of the properties for outside functions, lights, noise, trespass by the Defendants onto their properties, damage to their homes from dynamite blasts, cutting down trees by the Defendants on a Plantiff's property, concern for the health impacts of living under turbines, dread, fear and the loss of the previous love for their homes. The Public as well has suffered a loss from the destruction of this scenic and historic area of Taylor County and the complete disregard of FPL Energy, LLC for the endangered species in the area when it constructed Callahan Divide Wind Farm.
This working paper is made available by the Resource and Environmental economics and Policy Analysis (REPA) Research Group at the University of Victoria. REPA working papers have not been peer reviewed and contain preliminary research findings. They shall not be cited without the expressed written consent of the author(s). Editor's Note: The authors’ conclusion regarding ‘effective capacity’, i.e. the measure of a generator’s contribution to system reliability that is tied to meeting peak loads, is that it “is difficult to generalize, as it is a highly site-specific quantity determined by the correlation between wind resource and load” and that ‘values range from 26 % to 0% of rated capacity.” This conclusion is based, in part, on a 2003 study by the California Energy Commission that estimated that three wind farm aggregates- Altamont, San Gorgonio and Tehachpi, which collectively represent 75% of California’s deployed wind capacity- had relative capacity credits of 26.0%, 23.9% and 22.0% respectively. It is noteworthy that during California’s Summer ’06 energy crunch, as has been widely publicized in the press, wind power produced at 254.6 MW (10.2% of wind’s rated capacity of 2,500MW) at the time of peak demand (on July 24th) and over the preceding seven days (July 17-23) produced at 89.4 to 113.0 MW, averaging only 99.1 MW at the time of peak demand or just 4% of rated capacity.
This 'informal white paper' authored by the renewable energy industry and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas addresses the impact of wind's intermittency on the need for the development of comparable capacities of reliable sources that can be called upon when the wind is not blowing. It contains a particularly interesting chart that characterizes different energy sources as 'base load', 'peak load' and 'intermittent' with their associated benefits and drawbacks. Wind is deemed 'intermittent' with the following benefits (no emissions, no fuel costs, stable cost, low operating cost) and drawbacks (not dispatchable, not responsive, transmission needs, low peak value).