Articles from Texas
The Randall County commissioner’s court spent more than an hour discussing details of Chermac Energy Corporation’s proposed tax abatement agreement for the wind farm they are working to build in southern Randall County. Three motions had been made and voted on, each failing by a 2-3 vote.
Randall County commissioners agreed they want a wind farm built in the county but couldn’t decide on how much tax revenue they wanted to give up to make that happen.
“It’s difficult for me to say how, without that massive financial assistance, we would have the tremendous volume we see,” said Hartnett White, now with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation and a fierce critic of renewable-energy sources, which she calls “unreliable and parasitic.” She added that it might take years to evaluate whether investing in CREZ was worth the huge price tag.
Pusley said he's not opposed to wind farms, but added they belong in more rural areas, and said Apex Clean Energy in particular hasn't listened to community input on its Chapman Ranch development. "They're not suited for being built up against the city limits of Corpus Christi," he said.
Traffic was snarled Monday afternoon on U.S. 59 in northeast Houston after a piece of a wind turbine fell off a big rig during a crash.
The turbine, located south of Loving Road in the Cox Mountain vicinity, part of the Senate Wind Farm, burned as firefighters monitored it.
Susan Combs, the state comptroller, stirred controversy last month when she said Texas’ growing wind energy industry should “stand on its own two feet.”
But the city-owned utility, Austin Energy, has balked at the council’s proposal and said it would be too expensive for ratepayers. And since then, a debate has ensued over how to be politically progressive and economically practical at the same time. ...“It’s good to have aspirations except if the aspirations are so far afield that they are simply going to be ignored.”
An area wind farm has expressed interest in a 10-year agreement that would reduce the taxes it would owe to Canyon Independent School District, Assistant Superintendent Randy McDowell said during the district’s board meeting Monday evening.
In two days of hearings before the House Environmental Regulation Committee in Austin on a pending federal law to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, officials described a future electricity industry vastly different from its present form.
Captain Mark McLaughlin is a consultant with the Department of Defense, and he appeared during public comment at Tuesday's council meeting, where they had planned a final vote on the southside annexation. McLaughlin said the base had problems with many of the current wind farms in the area, and he thinks the Chapman Ranch wind farm would create even more problems for air traffic controllers in the Coastal Bend.
The evidence is in; wind energy claims are, at least for now, hot air. It’s time for Texas lawmakers to end the subsidies that have propped up the renewable energy market and let those industries stand on their own. That’s the conclusion of Texas Comptroller Susan Combs in a recent report.
The subsidies to wind generation companies are the only subsidies the state has handed out which do not require the companies to commit to job creation. From SpaceX to Toyota, other companies receiving subsidies have had those subsidies conditioned on job creation. But the wind industry is somehow 'special.'
Reflecting a wider discomfort among some top state officials on renewable power, the state’s chief financial officer says the state should rethink its support for wind energy. Comptroller Susan Combs said that it was “time for wind to stand on its own two feet” as she released a report Tuesday encouraging lawmakers to discontinue subsidies for electricity generation.
Judges Jennifer Walker Elrod and Jerry Edwin Smith said that while PURPA promotes alternative energy, it does not “do so at the expense of the American consumer” but “mandates that the rates that utilities pay for such power shall be just and reasonable.” The majority went on to say that the more favorable pricing is meant only for those generators “able to forecast when they will deliver energy to the utility — and capable of delivering the specified amount of energy at the scheduled time.”
A wind farm developer will pay Willacy County about $458,000 a year under a 10-year agreement tied to its second project, which will build 116 wind turbines.
This post offers useful insight into the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding wind power and whether utilities are mandated under Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) to purchase the energy. In the ruling, the Court found that states have the right to limit the ability of renewable energy facilities to sell power under PURPA through long-term contracts unless the facilities can provide “firm power.” This “firm power” requirement is a problem for renewable energy developers, in particular wind and solar.
A split federal appeals court panel ruled yesterday that Exelon Corp. cannot force a Texas utility to buy power from its wind farms. ...Exelon had demanded that Southwestern purchase wind for 3.5 cents per kilowatt-hour up to 9 cents per kWh for the first nine years of a 20-year contract. But Southwestern argued that, because of the variable nature of wind, Exelon’s units could not provide “firm power” and it refused the terms of Exelon’s agreement.
Reliance on renewable energy would make the utility more vulnerable to rate increases. That's because on windless, cloudy days the utility will have to rely more on purchased power from the statewide grid, forcing the utility to pay whatever prices the market dictates.
"The assertion ... that the annexation of the Chapman Ranch will halt the development of the wind farm is a false belief. Under state law, the Chapman Ranch wind farm development is grandfathered — a right the company is willing to defend," Ferguson said. "Within this context, if the city elects to reject a reasonable compromise and pursues annexation, it will only serve to incentivize the company to fully build out the wind farm."