Articles filed under Energy Policy from Texas
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.”
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.
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.
In a memo to the commission Thursday, Nelson said the federal tax credit for wind power was distorting the power market. She said that could potentially push base-load generation like coal and nuclear off the grid. And she ordered an examination of the costs to maintain and upgrade the power grid for wind farms and other renewable sources.
Sometimes with long transmission lines that are lightly loaded, such as CREZ, it can be hard to control voltage," he says. "Wind energy needs a source to stabilize it and make it stay in sync." Also, as more CREZ-related projects attempt to tie in with the grid, abnormally hot or cold spring and fall temperatures - leading to unexpected high power demand on the system - could cause delays.