Library filed under Energy Policy from Texas
On July 2, the Public Utility Commission of Texas denied a request by AEP affiliate Southwestern Electric Power Co. to use its Texas customers' rates to finance the acquisition of a giant wind farm complex in Oklahoma ...The three-member Texas commission said the project didn't lay out clear enough benefits to consumers to justify their up-front investment. While some big companies have championed renewable energy, the farm had been opposed by major Texas consumer groups.
The close call in Texas in mid-August should be a lesson for ERCOT to rethink how it is valuing dispatchable, baseload power. The addition of more intermittent capacity to the market will likely make the reliability challenges Texas is facing only more difficult to manage. Further, the 100% renewable goal that several states have instituted should be viewed as a farce as the City of Georgetown recently discovered.
On August 12, a heatwave drove electricity demand in Texas to an all-time high. Electricity prices across the Texas power grid surged 36,000 percent, to roughly $6,537 per megawatt-hour—far higher than the average Texas price of $20 to $30 per megawatt-hour. Not only did electricity demand climb enormously as Texans cranked their air conditioners in 100-degree weather, but electricity generation at Texas wind farms simultaneously fell 50 percent due to lack of wind in the hot, listless air.
Last fall, Keith Uhles, an engineer with the oil-and-gas firm CrownRock Minerals, invited other young West Texas professionals to join him at a popular Midland Mexican restaurant for a conversation about renewable energy subsidies.
The city lost $21.8 million on its wind and solar contracts from 2016 to 2018 due to the falling prices of oil and gas, according to figures provided by City Manager David Morgan. Georgetown is renegotiating its 20- to 25-year wind and solar contracts to try to get a better deal, Morgan has said.
Calpine Corp. of Houston and NRG Energy of Houston and Princeton, N.J., asked the state to assign transmission losses based on the distance the power travels, a move that would benefit traditional power companies which tend to have plants closer to population centers and hurt wind and solar farms in the remote parts of the state
The indefinite mothballing of a 470-MW coal-fired plant has reduced ERCOT’s “pretty scary” reserve margin of 8.1% to 7.4%, prodding the Texas Public Utility Commission into ordering several market changes.
NRG and Calpine are asking Texas regulators to end the equal sharing of lost electricity costs and assign them to companies according to the distance the electricity moves along transmission lines, giving their coal and natural gas power plants, which are closer to Houston and other population centers, an advantage.
Renewable energy supporters are bracing for a fight in the next legislative session. Help state lawmakers give to solar and wind companies must be renewed when lawmakers return to Austin in January.
If we needed any reminder why Texas outpaces Louisiana in so many ways, witness how the Lone Star State last week mooted a bad decision by the Louisiana Public Service Commission made in part by northwest Louisiana’s Foster Campbell.
Texas Public Policy Foundation released the paper “Texas Wind Power Story: Part 1 – How Subsidies Drive Texas Wind Power Development,” which shows that the growth of the wind industry in Texas is spurred by, and only viable because of subsidies such as the production tax credit, along with tax breaks at the state and local level. A summary of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from the links on this page.
The nation's biggest wind generator, NextEra Energy Resources, has bought the Oklahoma portion of the proposed 700-mile-long Plains and Eastern Line to serve Oklahoma and Midwest customers. But for now, plans to bring wind energy from the windy areas of Oklahoma and Texas into the less-windy Tennessee Valley and Southeastern part of the United States are stalled and unlikely to be resurrected for years.
Although activists herald these pledges as major environmental accomplishments, they’re more of a marketing gimmick. ...Texas generates more wind and solar power than any other state. Yet more than 71% of the council’s total electricity still comes from coal and natural gas.
Lieutenant Colonel Matt Manning says the biggest danger comes within 25 miles because that's when training aircraft are at their lowest altitudes as they're being brought back by air traffic controllers to base.
AUSTIN - When 39-year-old twin brothers Jimmy and Joe Horn set out to build up to 80 wind turbines near Wichita Falls, the energy developers didn’t envision the blowback they would encounter from a powerful neighbor — the United States Air Force.
We have both taught problem-solving approaches to science and engineering students emphasizing that identifying the real problem may be the more difficult task since getting the right answer to the wrong problem is at best misleading and can be counterproductive. Simplistic solutions to complex problems rarely lead to the desired result, but complex problems can often be broken into smaller entities that lead to appropriate solutions provided that each segment recognizes and takes into consideration the other parts of the problem.
Some operators and project developers have complained that getting authorization for future expansions will be too costly and time-consuming. “Some of the renewable energy folks are making it sound like the world’s coming to an end,” says Kenneth Anderson, one of the three members of the state’s Public Utility Commission. In fact, future transmission projects will have to prove they are economically viable and/or necessary to maintain the grid’s reliability. The original CREZ system granted a blanket authorization by legislators in Austin; going forward, future projects will have to be approved on a case-by-case basis.
“Basically this decision says that Washington, D.C., knows more than the people of Arkansas do about whether to build across the state giant, unsightly transmission towers to carry a comparatively expensive, unreliable source of electricity to the Southeast where utilities may not need the electricity. This is the first time federal law has been used to override a state's objections to using eminent domain for siting electric transmission lines. It is absolutely the wrong policy.”
Steve DeWolf founded Wind Tex Energy in Dallas and developed several wind farm projects over the years ..."Given the lack of cooperation in Congress and the crazies on both sides, I don't know if the PTC is going to get passed," DeWolf said. "And a lot of the best sites in Texas are taken, and then you have the competition from low natural gas prices."
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.