Articles filed under General from Texas
The rush to America of foreign wind-turbine manufacturers shows that the Obama administration's plan for stimulating the creation of green-energy jobs is going in an odd direction.
Driving through western Kansas, you'll see hundreds of whirling wind turbines. But you won't see lots of people - or high-voltage power lines. And that is the big obstacle to realizing the wind-energy potential of Kansas and the Midwest: You can put up all the towers and turbines you like, but without more transmission lines, the added electricity won't get to the cities that could use it. Those lines will take years to build and cost tens of billions of dollars - if they are built at all.
A Sino-US consortium yesterday announced plans for a US$1.5 billion, 600MW wind farm in Texas, with China supplying all the turbines and most of the funding. The 36,000-acre wind farm ...is a joint venture between state-backed Chinese firm Shenyang Power Group, US wind farm developer Cielo Wind Power and private equity firm US Renewable Energy Group. Most of the funding for the project will come from Chinese banks, with loan guarantees and grants provided by the US federal government's economic stimulus package.
Texas, which produces more energy than any other U.S. state, may see a slowdown in expanding wind generation this year and in 2010 as low natural-gas prices make new plants less profitable, state utility regulator Barry Smitherman said.
A doubling of wind-generated electric capacity anticipated in Texas by 2015 will alter operations of every power plant in the state, industry sources said on Wednesday. The rise in wind to an expected 18,500 megawatts of installed capacity will force aging, natural gas-fired power plants to shut, limit output at times from coal-fired plants and create a need for nimble, simple-cycle gas plants that investors are wary to build in the current market, said members of an industry panel at the Gulf Coast Power Association conference.
As 37-mile-per-hour gusts blasted downtown Minneapolis on Thursday, hundreds of wind-energy executives were inside the Minneapolis Hilton, discussing the challenges their industry still faces. Chief among those challenges: weather-related down times and - perhaps more surprisingly - utilities unwilling to accept energy from wind farms because their high-voltage transmission lines can't accept any more power.
German power giant E.On is expected to announce on Thursday that the world's largest wind farm, close to Sweetwater, Texas, is open for business and generating juice. The wind farm in Roscoe, just west of Sweetwater, boasts 627 wind turbines, with a total capacity of 781.5 megawatts. ...As some wind farm developers slow down in Texas, E.On keeps building.
The companies building Texas' $5 billion renewable-energy transmission network have decided against seeking stimulus funding that could have saved money for consumers. The decision was made last month in a little-noticed hearing of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, where regulators agreed with the companies that stimulus funds came with regulations that could slow construction.
If you've been driving around the Permian Basin lately, you probably aren't as likely to have gotten stuck behind a truck pulling a giant wind turbine blade. While wind energy projects are still going on in other parts of West Texas, Gary Vest, economic development director for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, said it would be a while before they start back up in the counties around Odessa. "It's kind of on hold," he said. "Any of them that are in progress already are still going, but they haven't been starting any new ones." Companies are waiting until construction on a $4.93 billion plan to connect transmission lines from West Texas to the state's population centers is closer to completion, Vest said. That isn't expected until 2013.
Carter Wind Energy, in partnership with landowners in the Seymour area, is in the process of developing a project to harness the wind to generate electricity in Baylor County. Matt Carter, president of the company, said plans call for developing an anticipated 80MW (megawatts) Community Wind Energy Project on 8,000 acres.
As she sat at a small sunlit table by her apartment window, near the wheelchair and oxygen tank in the corner, Leona Morgan ticked off her monthly spending list. Rent: $550. Groceries: $300. Medicine for anemia, a heart condition and other ailments: $50 beyond what's covered by government health programs. Electric bill: $93.87 in August. "My income just barely covers what I have to spend," said Morgan, a sprightly, bone-thin 86-year-old, contemplating the possibility of soaring electric bills.
Universities and businesses across Texas are expecting to spend millions in the next few years honing the blades, gearboxes and generators that make up turbines designed to harness power from the wind. The work, including studies slated for a new University of Houston research park as well as at a massive, 22-acre testing operation planned near Corpus Christi, all has a common goal: developing a new generation of efficient and reliable wind turbines.
General Electric has sued Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in federal court over three wind energy patents. Two South Texas wind projects use Mitsubishi turbines. GE says Mitsubishi used protected technology that allows a wind turbine to provide a constant, steady stream of electricity to the electrical grid when wind speed changes.
When it comes to the biggest decision facing CPS - how to meet the energy shortage looming in the next decade or so - utility officials are adamant that renewable resources like solar and wind are not yet ready to shoulder the lion's share of the load. The proposed solution instead is to add two nuclear reactors to the South Texas Project. Utility officials insist the proposed $5.2 billion investment is cheaper and more reliable than solar or wind. The situation has the local anti-nuclear coalition Energia Mia and statewide renewable energy proponents outraged.
John Hearn hopes someday to sell some of his 650 acres bordering the King Ranch for development. Maybe not in his lifetime, but probably in his children's. But Hearn worries of another kind of development, one that he fears will devalue his property: a large wind farm in the Chapman Ranch area. Local farmers have told him that a company has been signing leases. But it has been difficult to determine what, if anything, will be built.
Lightning that struck a wind turbine tower Wednesday near U.S. Highway 87 between Sterling City and Big Spring sent four men to a nearby hospital, a General Electric Co. official said. The four employees drove themselves to the hospital and were checked out as a precaution, GE spokeswoman Melissa Rocker said.
As the wind-energy industry continues to grow, state officials are developing guidelines to help wildlife and wind turbines coexist on the High Plains, a first step that may serve as a blueprint for the rest of Texas. "We're trying to get Panhandle-specific guidelines that would include the lesser-prairie chicken," said Kathy Boydston, program leader for wildlife habitat assessment at the state Parks & Wildlife Department.
The Lone Star state famously leads the U.S., itself the world leader, in wind power. But how much wind power-really-does Texas have? Less than one-tenth of its official tally of more than 8,000 megawatts, says Robert Bryce in the Energy Tribune. That's because wind power is a lot more fickle than other power sources, such as natural gas, coal, or nuclear power.
The answer to North Carolina's green energy challenge is blowing in the wind-swept mesas of Texas. With the first deadlines fast approaching for North Carolina's renewable energy targets, power companies in this state are snapping up green certificates from out-of-state wind farms. The certificates don't buy electricity, but pay for credits needed to meet state targets.
San Patricio County Commissioner Jim Price, a private pilot, contends that because 19 of roughly 100 turbines planned by E.ON Climate & Renewables North America Inc. fall within four miles of the T.P. McCampbell Airport, they jeopardize the approach to a runway.