Articles from Texas
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.
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.