Articles from Texas
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."
The battle over the wind farm in the Chapman Ranch area continues. Now the general manager of a local television station is saying the wind farm poses a public safety issue.
The problem was price. A GreenChoice batch spiked to more than three times the standard electricity rate. Austin Energy officials blamed the jump in prices on a more robust West Texas wind market and clogged transmission lines that made transporting wind energy more challenging. Roger Duncan, the former general manager of Austin Energy, said it was time to consider abolishing the program.
The $7 billion is being paid for by all customers, under the regulated portion of the Texas system, which covers transmission and distribution. The Texas Public Utility Commission said the typical residential ratepayer was charged an extra $6 a month or so. “There are some things about the CREZ lines that can leave a bad taste in your mouth.”
A developer that planned Texas’ first offshore wind farm stopped paying on two state offshore leases, one of which expired today, an official said Friday.
Nelson is pushing hard for the re-assessment. She has in the past criticised the wind production tax credit (PTC), even although it is a federal policy and not in her purview. A proportion of her three-page memo was about the PTC. It stated: "The federal [PTC] distorts wholesale electric markets... While this commission has no ability to change what Congress does, we do have an obligation to Texans to periodically review whether our rules appropriately assign cost to those who cause those costs."
Wind power developers warn that making wind companies pay the same transmission rates as other generators will destroy Texas’ lead in wind power and undermine the economics of wind generation. [Public Utility Commission head, Donna] Nelson, however, claims that giving wind companies a pass is no longer necessary because the industry has been around long enough to figure out its economics.