Library from Texas

Windmills Over a Pump Jack

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.
4 Oct 2006

Texas, private partners to invest $10B in wind energy

The state of Texas will partner with private-sector parties to invest more than $10 billion in new wind energy infrastructure, Gov. Rick Perry said Monday. The wind energy initiative will diversify the state's energy production, clean up the air and help Texas surpass its renewable energy goals, Perry said in an announcement Monday at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
2 Oct 2006

Texas to ensure power lines for wind developers

Gov. Rick Perry said Monday he has received a $10 billion investment guarantee from wind energy developers in exchange for the state’s assurance that the necessary power transmission lines will be built. Should the development come to fruition, the state would gain about 10,000 megawatts of power supplied by wind, enough to light up about 2.3 million homes. “Private companies are putting up their money instead of taxpayers putting up their money,” Perry said while flanked by executives from wind developers at Southern Methodist University. “The state of Texas will ensure we build the transmission capacity needed to deliver zero emission power source.” The agreement, though, is not formal and does not come with any binding contract between the state and energy companies touting plans to install more wind power generation, largely in West Texas.
2 Oct 2006

Texas is more hospitable than Mass. to wind farms

Across sparely settled, middle-of-nowhere Nolan County, Ussery is among dozens of ranchers joining an energy boom that has helped Texas surge past California as the new leader in wind power. Long known for its oil and gas riches, Texas now produces enough environmentally friendly wind power to light 600,000 homes, and more wind farms are on the way. That's in sharp contrast with Massachusetts, where developers have struggled to complete the controversial Cape Wind project, which would put a 130-turbine wind farm off the coast of Nantucket. The project has been before Congress several times over the years -- with Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, leading the fight against it.
25 Sep 2006

Offshore wind farm may never take flight

The former chief executive officer of Superior Renewable Energy says plans for a major offshore wind farm near Padre Island could sink before the first turbine is ever placed in the Gulf of Mexico. “The economics today don’t work,” said John Calaway, the former CEO. “It’s underwater. The numbers just don’t work right now.”
15 Sep 2006

Harvesting wind could be profitable

MUNCY — More than 200 people from across the region gathered at the Friends Unity Center between Floydada and Lockney to hear a presentation on wind energy Monday night. Featured speaker at the meeting, which was sponsored by the Floydada Economic Development Corporation, was Lisa Chavarria, an attorney with McElroy, Sullivan and Miller in Austin who specializes in wind energy contracts. Ms. Chavarria explained that she is aware of seven development companies seeking leases in the area. Those companies are large, well-established and well-financed, and that is a good sign, she said. The purpose behind Ms. Chavarria’s presentation was to help local and area landowners know how to go about establishing leases.
12 Sep 2006

Has the coal power boom cooled off?

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.
10 Sep 2006

The nuclear option

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.
9 Sep 2006

Some are happy to pay more for electricity

Local architect Stephen Colley jumped at the chance to pay more for his electricity on the first day he was able to do so. That's right, he volunteered to pay higher electric rates. So have hundreds of thousands of others around the country, and more are doing so every day, paying a premium to buy "green" energy and reduce the release of greenhouse gases.
5 Sep 2006

Deal on offshore wind farm doesn't add up for Texas

In reality, this project should generate for its investors about $2.46 billion over 20 years through the sale of power and Texas renewable energy credits, which are paid by Texas ratepayers. An additional $333 million in federal production tax credits will be added to the revenue stream, along with an anticipated county and school tax abatement (tax forgiveness) generally demanded by all wind project developers of between $125 million and $265 million, depending on the project cost. With the project taking advantage of almost half a billion in tax abatements and credits (some directly out of school district funds and state school funds), lease royalties of only $34 million to $112 million to benefit the state education fund hardly add up to "a good deal." Simply put, Texas public school children, and all Texas residents, will be harmed from a revenue standpoint if the Superior project is built.
28 Aug 2006

Texas to bid for wind research facility

AUSTIN, Texas - Texas will bid for a proposed Department of Energy wind turbine research and development facility, the state's land commissioner said Thursday. The facility would be able to test wind turbine blades reaching 230 feet. Applications for the site are due Oct. 2.
25 Aug 2006

Public to weigh in on wind plan

The Panhandle is edging closer to plugging into the electricity market downstate. Public Utility Commission members voted Wednesday to take public comment on a process that could allow wind-generated power to flow south on a new $1 billion transmission line.
24 Aug 2006

Wind Farm Supplying Energy to San Antonio

The temperature has been at-or-above 99 degrees. We're all looking for a way to cool off. For many of us, it means turning on fans and air conditioners and CPS is reporting record demand. "We're meeting about close to 7 to 10% of that with wind energy. All depending on whether the wind is blowing in West Texas," said Theresa Brown Cortez, a spokesperson for CPS Energy.
19 Aug 2006

Panhandle Wind Power Could Help Light the Rest of Texas

For supply reasons, a power company doesn't want more than 12 percent of the power being generated by wind, Swinford said. While it seems the wind blows constantly, it doesn't, so coal or natural gas is needed for stability of supply. Xcel Energy, the power company serving the Texas Panhandle, is the No. 1 power company using wind in the nation, Swinford said. When all the planned wind farms are built in the Xcel service area, it will have reached its maximum 12 percent for the transmission lines here. "So we have to get some way to hook our wind to a line out of the Panhandle, because we're done," he said. "We don't have the people to justify more production up here."
14 Aug 2006
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