Documents from Texas
Texas Public Policy Foundation released Part 2 of its research on wind power in the state of Texas. This paper addresses the human and environmental impacts of wind power development. Part 1 reviews the subsidies supporting wind power and how industry growth remains reliant on public outlays.
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.
Attached to this page are two letters by the American Bird Conservancy sent to EDF Renewables in regard to EDF's proposed Vista Mountain wind project slated for Hamilton and Mills counties in Texas. The letters raise specific concerns with the impact of the turbines on the ecologically-sensitive Texas Hill Country/Cross Timbers Region on the Edwards Plateau. The letters are important in that they inform readers how significant and habitat-rich the Texas landscape is, a fact that repeatedly gets ignored when the wind industry only touts the number of megawatts installed in the State. The full text of the first letter is pasted below. Both letters can be downloaded from this page.
William Stripling’s note, which appeared in Vol 95 - Issue 1 of the Texas Law Review, examines the general failure of current law to ensure decommissioning of America’s wind farms. He discusses the history and current landscape of domestic wind-energy generation, before focusing on the best practices in wind-farm decommissioning, aesthetic and environmental harms posed by abandoned wind farms, and the challenges and costs of removing wind turbines. He then surveys the state of current law regarding decommissioning across U.S. jurisdictions, before finally discussing common pitfalls of current decommissioning law and suggesting how these pitfalls are best avoided. The conclusion of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded at the links provided on this page.
Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) signed an 18-year contract for energy from the Papalote Creek Wind Farm II located in southeast Texas. The contact price was fixed for the term of the agreement at $64.75 a megawatt-hour. With wind now selling at half that price, LCRA is seeking to reduce its liability. There is a dispute between LCRA and Papalote Creek as to the cost if LCRA tries to end the contract early. This motion, filed by LCRA in federal court is intended to compel the wind company into arbitration in order to settle the dispute. LCRA sells wholesale power to dozens of Central Texas communities. A portion of the filing is provided below. The full motion can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important report by the Texas Comptroller examines the importance of reliable, low-cost energy for the State of Texas. A portion of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals involves wind power and whether utilities are mandated under Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) to purchase the energy. In the ruling, the Court found that states have the right to limit the ability of renewable energy facilities to sell power under PURPA through long-term contracts unless the facilities can provide “firm power.” This “firm power” requirement is a problem for renewable energy developers, in particular wind and solar. The ruling also reinforces the role of the States in their interpretation and implementation of the law. In this case, Exelon, which owns a number of operating wind energy facilities in Texas, argued that the utilitty was required under PURPA to sign long-term contracts to acquire the energy at prices ranging from $35 to $90/megawatt hour. The Court disagreed. A brief portion of the court's ruling is provided below. The full ruling can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Texas PUC chairwoman, Donna Nelson, has initiated an investigation into "the costs of [transmission] system upgrades, the costs to maintain and operate the current system, and the allocation of those costs specifically related to renewable resources." In her memo below (and attached). Chairwoman Nelson warns of the costs, particularly of the wind PTC is extended by Congress.
In this paper, Joseph Cullen quantifies the emissions offset by wind power for a large electricity grid in Texas using the randomness inherent in wind power availability. When accounting for dynamics in the production process, the results indicate that only for high estimates of the social costs of pollution does the value of emissions offset by wind power exceed cost of renewable energy subsidies. An excerpt of Mr. Cullen's paper is provided below. The full paper can be downloaded from this page.
WHEREAS wind turbines can negatively affect property values for several miles around them; and
Resolution #2012-14 was adopted by the City of Kingsville through a unanimous vote of its City Commission. The resolution states the City of Kingsville opposes the construction of industrial wind turbines (wind farms) in the City of Kingsville and in Kleberg County. The full resolution can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
EC&R Development is proposing the construction of a wind power electric generation facility in Nueces County Texas. EC&R Development is an active franchise taxpayer, as required by Texas Tax Code Section 313.024(a) and is in good standing. After reviewing the application using the criteria listed in Section 313.026 and the information provided by EC&R Development, the Comptroller's recommendation is that EC&R Development's application under Tax Code Chapter 313 not be approved.
In 2011, Chief of Naval Operations of the US Navy reqested an assessment of the impacts of wind turbine development near NAS Kingsville on Navy readiness include advisement on whether such impacts, if unmitigated, would present an unacceptable risk to National Security.
Many jurisdictions worldwide are greatly increasing the amount of wind production, with the expectation that increasing renewables will cost-effectively reduce greenhouse emissions. This paper discusses the interaction of increasing wind, transmission constraints, renewable credits, wind and demand correlation, intermittency, carbon prices, and electricity market prices using the particular example of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) market. The complete paper can be accessed at the links provided below.
This new report from Colorado's natural gas industry says increased use of wind energy indirectly results in raised pollution levels produced by some coal-fired power plants along the Front Range. The report recommends curbing the use of wind energy during the next one or two years to levels that match power output at existing natural gas-fired power plants -- and building more natural gas plants in the long term. The introductory sections of the report are provided below. To access the full document click on the link at the bottom of this page.
In 2005, the Texas Legislature adopted Senate Bill 20 which directed the Public Utility Commission of Texas ('PUCT') to select the most productive wind zones in the State and devise a transmission plan to deliver wind energy from these remote areas to the State's urban centers. Five Competitive Renewable Energy Zones ('CREZs') were identified in West Texas and the Panhandle for the construction of new wind energy generation. In 2008, the PUCT ordered the construction of new transmission to support up to 18,456 megawatts of wind energy capacity at an estimated cost of $4.93 billion, or approximately $4.00 per month per residential customer once construction was completed. The costs were to be reflected as rate increases. In its order from March 2009, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), named thirteen companies to build the new electric transmission lines.
The County Commissioners of San Saba County, Texas approved Resolution #2009-07 concerning the appropriate transmission line route from Brown to Newton County. This action was taken at the behest of residents in the county who expressed concerned about the impacts of 345 KV line needed to deliver West Texas wind energy to points east. The Texas Public Utilities Commission has ordered the construction of transmission capacity to deliver generated power from the five designated Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ's) to electric customers residing in urban areas. San Saba County is one of many counties that will see massive towers and transmission lines crossing over portions of private land. The full resolution can be accessed by clicking on the link below.
This report was prepared for a presentation given at the South Plains Agriculture Wind & Wildlife Conference in Lubbock, Texas on February 13, 2009. The findings and conclusions contained herein are the exclusive property of Gardner Appraisal Group, Inc., and cannot be re-produced without the express written permission of Gardner Appraisal Group, Inc. Windaction.org wishes to thank Mr. Derry T. Gardner for kindly granting us permission to post his presentation to the www.windaction.org website. To access the document, click on the link at the bottom of this page.
Policy analyst and attorney, Drew Thornley, of the Texas Public Policy Foundation examines the growth of wind energy in Texas over the last decade. While many policymakers and business leaders foresee wind as a major contributor to America’s electricity supply, his report identifies several practical obstacles that stand in the way of achieving that vision.