Library filed under Technology from Texas
The Department of Energy reports a 1,000-mile truck trip can run more than $20,000. Considering the average wind turbine now runs $3.3 million, that's a relatively small piece of the overall cost. But multiply the trucking bill by the three blades per turbine and the 100 turbines that might make up a wind farm, and the pricetag rises quickly.
NextEra Energy Resources is planning to shut two of its wind farms in Texas after both were significantly damaged by ice storms in November. ...Ice storms that hit the region in November caused significant damage to the turbines at both facilities as well as the transmission system.
Gamesa Technology, based in Spain, signed contracts Monday with A&M and several affiliated entities calling for research on energy projects, including a turbine rated at a production capacity of 4.5 megawatts to be installed at WT's Nance Ranch. The company itself only makes a 2-megawatt turbine now and most land-based turbines don't exceed that.
This report was sponsored by the Independent Producers Association of Mountain States. It examined the emissions benefits of renewable energy within an operating grid system and found that the often erratic and unpredictable wind resource resulted in the inefficient operation of coal and gas plants. As a result, the authors report that the temporary reduction in coal or gas to permit wind energy on the system actually raised the level of SO2, NOX and CO2 than would have occurred had less wind energy been generated and the fossil plants permitted to operate as designed.
Opposition continues to grow against a high-powered transmission line proposed to run through parts of Gillespie and Kerr counties. A steering committee in Harper and other concerned citizens opposing the private transmission lines have met several times in the past few months and are encouraging landowners to resist leasing utility easements. ...Hilliard Energy is attempting to acquire a series of contiguous 180-foot utility easements for Florida Power and Light Energy to build a private 345 kilovolt line from Taylor County to Comfort.
Six wind tower sections left DMI Industries, located at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, on Tuesday en route to a wind farm site in northern Texas. ...Less than a year ago, DMI Industries, an Otter Tail company, bought a plant built for Griffin Wheel -- a railcar manufacturer that never moved in -- to extend its geographic reach and meet the growing demand for wind towers in the southwestern states.
As wind power becomes more common, its unpredictability becomes more of a problem. Sudden drops in wind speed can send grid operators scrambling to cover the shortfall and even cause blackouts; unexpected surges can leave conventional power plants idling, incurring costs and spewing pollution to no purpose. ...When wind farms were less common, grid controllers could essentially ignore their varying output, as it was all but indistinguishable from natural fluctuations in consumer use.
The Big Country is home to the world's largest wind farm. Now it can boast tallest wind turbines in the United States. Enel North America Inc. announced Thursday the completion of the Snyder Wind project with the tallest utility-scale wind turbines in the United States. The Snyder Wind project in Scurry County, about 80 miles northwest of Abilene, has 21 3.0 megawatt wind turbines mounted on towers measuring 345 feet. Other wind farms in the area have towers that are about 200 feet tall.
OGE Energy Corp is prepared to build a new high-voltage transmission line to accelerate development of wind generation in Oklahoma, the utility company chief executive said on Tuesday. Oklahoma City-based OG&E Electric Services said new transmission is needed to unlock the potential for power to flow from future wind farms in the western part of the state to populated cities in the east. Chief Executive Officer Pete Delaney said OG&E, Oklahoma's largest electric utility, plans to significantly increase its wind production from 170 megawatts to 770 MW over the next five years to meet increased customer demand for renewable power.
Two companies developing more than 600 megawatts of wind generation along the Texas coastline aren't daunted by threats of hurricane damage or opposition from environmentalists and powerful ranching interests, executives said Thursday. ...The Texas Public Utility Commission on Wednesday blocked a coalition of environmental groups, backed by the powerful King Ranch interests of South Texas, from intervening in a case related to the siting of a transmission line to move power from the two coastal wind farms to the Texas grid.
"Unfortunately, electric power generated from wind energy is intermittent and variable. That means we need to have better measurements of wind power plants' output as we integrate wind energy into existing power systems. We also need to develop a way of managing wind power so it can be more readily called upon when needed."
... a coalition of local utilities is grappling with one of the thorniest challenges in the field of renewable power: how to store the excess energy windmills create when demand is low so it can be used later, when the need is greater. The group is building a system that will steer surplus electricity generated by a nearby wind farm to a big air compressor. Connected to a deep well, the compressor pumps air into layers of sandstone. Some 3,000 feet down and sealed from above by dense shale, the porous sandstone acts like a giant balloon. Later, when demand for power rises, this flow is reversed.
NRG Energy Inc., a Princeton N.J.-based wholesale power generating company, applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Sept. 24 to build and run two nuclear power plants at the South Texas Project (STP) site in Matagorda County. ...NRG projects that the new units will bring 2,700 megawatts (MW) to the Texas grid, enough to power upwards of 2 million homes. A single wind turbine, [Luminant spokesman Tom Kleckner] said, can generate one to three MW of energy, compared to a nuclear plant that can generate megawatts in the 1000s.
Although wind blows for free, the new transmission lines to move that power will be anything but. Nobody -- including regulators and the operators of the Texas power grid -- knows now how much the transmission lines will cost, yet plans are moving forward aggressively. Everyone agrees that the price will be in the billions. ...ERCOT officials estimate that the wind blows only about 35 percent of the time and typically does not blow during the hottest time of the day, when Texas needs energy the most. That means that even with the expensive transmission lines and more wind generators, the state still needs plenty of other, more polluting generators to feed its energy needs.
TXU, Texas' biggest electricity producer, and the wind farms, units of Florida-based FPL Group, are suing each other over claims each failed to live up to contracts from 2001 to 2005. Dallas-based TXU says the wind farms failed to supply power. The farms say TXU gave preference to its West Texas plant, leaving them without access to power lines. The trial started Tuesday in a Dallas state court and is scheduled to last two weeks.
Plans to build what would have been the nation's largest offshore wind farm in South Texas have been called off because the multibillion-dollar project didn't make economic sense, the developer said Monday...Babcock & Brown Ltd. is moving on with an onshore wind farm in South Texas' Kenedy County, a $700 million-plus venture that calls for 157 turbines on thousands of acres, Calaway said. He noted the expense of building an offshore farm can be more than double the cost of one on land.
Some call it a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, but others point to significant environmental costs. In Kansas, where winds blow strong, the push for clean energy includes not only new wind turbines but also new nuclear-power plants as part of a "carbon-free" solution to climate change. It's an idea that may be catching on. At least 11 new nuclear plants are in the design stage in nine states, including Virginia, Texas, and Florida, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute website. But that carbon-free pitch has researchers asking anew: How carbon-free is nuclear power? And how cost-effective is it in the fight to slow global warming? "Saying nuclear is carbon-free is not true," says Uwe Fritsche, a researcher at the Öko Institut in Darmstadt, Germany, who has conducted a life-cycle analysis of the plants. "It's less carbon-intensive than fossil fuel. But if you are honest, scientifically speaking, the truth is: There is no carbon-free energy. There's no free lunch."
Texas is in a nationwide race for a giant new U.S. Department of Energy-backed wind turbine research and development center.
Greenblatt noted that while wind power could produce impressive amounts of peak energy during strong gusts, the biggest problem was wind power’s intermittency. The problem could be addressed by a process called compressed air energy storage, where excess energy could be used to pump compressed air into underground storage facilities that could include abandoned mines. When the wind was not blowing, he said, the compressed air could be tapped and combined with the burning of natural gas to create high-efficiency electrical generators approximating the efficiency levels of coal-fueled power plants.
John Richey of Chico is concerned about global warming and thinks that anything people can do to help the cause is worthwhile. With that in mind, Richey attended a meeting about wind turbines in Jacksboro on Monday night. The speakers at the meeting – held before a packed house in the Jacksboro High School auditorium – were generally opposed to wind turbines.