Library from Texas
Despite the rosy data, the storm will have some effects on clean energy development in Texas. While projects are still moving forward there, developers and investors are rethinking their risk and some weaker projects may not get built in the wake of the storm, said Daniel Sinaiko, a lawyer who represents renewable energy clients for the law firm Allen & Overy. That could include projects that are higher risk, less certain to bring in a profit, or less likely to find a buyer after completion. “The tax investors and the lenders are lining their contracts with covenants and reserves, things that cause the sponsor to be on the front edge of wearing the risks,” he said.
“The subject matter of the anticipated suit includes gross negligence and various subcategories of negligence.” Sentry is said to have failed to provide a "first aid station, an infirmary, or other medical services for the treatment of injured employees and – in a serious violation of safety protocols – also failed to have a person with first-aid training readily available at the work site to render first aid.”
Spurred by these security concerns, the Texas Legislature recently unanimously passed legislation that would ban individuals or companies connected with China, Iran, North Korea, or Russia from entering into contracts relating to the state’s critical infrastructure. The bill has been sent to the governor for signature. If it is signed, it will take effect immediately. The country’s critical infrastructure has been the target of several cyberattacks in recent months.
“Sunsetting this program is a critical victory for each and every Texan — made possible by a tidal wave of bipartisan support for free-market principles and broad property tax relief Texans sorely need," Kevin Roberts, TPPF’s CEO, said in a statement. “For two decades, Texas taxpayers have borne the brunt of special-interest corporate welfare that raises our property taxes and allows government to pick winners and losers. These 20 years of hard data have proven Chapter 313 doesn’t live up to its lofty promises to create jobs or lure new businesses to our state."
Property owners and conservationists were the first to raise alarm about the wind farm, saying construction might harm the pristine Devil's River. The also worry allowing a foreign company to connect to the Texas power grid would make it vulnerable. “There are foreign actors, as we've seen recently with the gas pipeline hack, that have ill intent for our country and our critical infrastructure," said Julie Lewey with the Devil’s River Conservancy.
The House version of the bill removes language from the original legislation that targeted renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, by requiring these producers to pick up the tab for ancillary services and replacement power, which are charges for reserve power supply. Currently, those costs are covered by consumers.
For all the benefits the wind turbines have brought to Sweetwater, a critical question remains: What to do with the worn-out wind turbine blades when they are replaced? Wind turbine blades last an average of about 25 to 30 years. When they are replaced, the old blades become a challenge, from transporting them out of the field to finding a place to store the blades, which can be longer than a Boeing 747 wing.
The study analyzes the outage periods documented by ERCOT for 191 wind farm units, with a nominal capacity of 21,888 MW, of which 57% (12,495 MW) is subject to a hedged financial structure. Lost energy production from wind farms, aggregating individual wind farm results, was 629,700 MWh with a financial impact of this lost production, whether the financial loss to the owner or gain by others, estimated at $4.18 billion. This represents an average financial impact on any project of $44.4 million. For hedged projects, the financial impact of this lost proxy production is even greater, with an average financial impact of $45.4 million.
ArcVera Renewables evaluated the financial losses associated with rolloing blackouts in Texas during the cold spell in mid-February 2021. The summary report and full report prepared by ArcVera Renewables can be downloaded from the document links on this page.
A Canadian renewable energy firm on Wednesday sued Citigroup Inc for rejecting force majeure declarations during a February winter storm and billing it over $100 million for replacement power, according to lawsuits filed in a Texas state court. Shannon Wind and Flat Top Wind, subsidiaries of Innergex Renewable Energy Inc (INE.TO), operate North Texas wind farms that halted their wind turbines during an arctic deep freeze. Both had agreements to physically deliver power to Citi Energy, a unit of Citigroup Inc (C.N), at fixed prices.
The fees are included in a bill that is the most wide-ranging response yet to pass the Texas Senate dealing with the power outages from the winter storms. Beside the fees on solar and wind producers, the legislation would create an alert system to warn Texans about impending power outages, and would require all electricity providers to weatherize their facilities and transmission lines — a major source of the midstorm power outages. It would also prohibit the wholesale electric index plans that resulted in astronomical bills for some consumers.
Experts warn the Chinese will be able to monitor and potentially interfere with air traffic at America’s largest pilot training facility at Laughlin. The project gives the Chinese communists a foothold in the Texas power grid. As now-retired Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast points out, if the power or water stops, Laughlin AFB stops working. “It triggered alarms the first time that we got evidence of Chinese money.”
For every 39 cents the oil-and-gas industry received in federal taxpayer subsidies from 2010 to 2019, the wind industry received $18.86, 48 times as much, and the solar industry received $82.46, 211 times as much. By 2029 Texans will have spent $2.5 billion subsidizing wind and solar farms through local property-tax abatements and $14 billion building the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone’s transmission lines through their electricity bills. While most businesses must pay to bring their product to market, wind and solar get a free ride from Texas taxpayers.
Dozens of wind farms in Texas have been left reeling from billions of dollars of losses incurred during last month’s state-wide electrical grid failure, even though the industry played a minor role in the power generation shortages that crippled much of the state. Those facilities either shut down, under-performed or were unable to fully export power during all or part of a week of historically cold winter weather because of blade icing, low wind resource, onsite electrical supply issues, and transmission congestion in the state’s main power grid, according to industry officials.
Given the situation, we see this as a one-off impact and RWE may try to recoup losses from insurance,” the analysts wrote in a note. RWE said part of its onshore wind fleet in Texas had been partly out of service from Feb. 9 because of icing and grid issues that have dealt a major blow to the second-largest U.S. state.
JACK COUNTY — Wind turbines are hard to miss, whether they are far away or close up, sometimes you just can’t avoid them.
Wind farms are not environmentally friendly to land or to nature. For example, the excavation of leased land to install and support wind farms permanently alters that property’s landscapes, rock outcroppings and micro-environments – all of which are irreplaceable. ...The turbines are a blight for miles around, and they also interfere with endangered species. Current projects in Montague and Jack counties will negatively affect the migration paths and lay-over locations of Whooping Cranes. Current population numbers are estimated to be about 500 Whopping Cranes left.
With the latest freeze fresh in regulators' minds, there could be mandatory weatherization of the grid and generation fleet in Texas ...these upgrades are unlikely to amortize and instead may simply be baked into the cost of doing business there. But beyond that, ...financing of projects will be looked at differently. "There will be much closer scrutiny of generating units being financed," Humphrey said. Funders, including tax equity financiers, will also have less appetite for merchant risk. "There will be more security around physical delivery requirements, capping merchant exposure so you don't have projects getting blown up," he said.
WASHINGTON — A former chair of Texas’ Public Utilities Commission testified Thursday that the misery suffered last month as blackouts left millions of Texans freezing in the dark for days could have been averted – if the state and its utilities had heeded a decade of advice to prepare for extreme weather.
If nothing is done to unwind the power prices, they wrote, at least 46 projects totaling nine gigawatts of capacity “would suffer severe financial losses.” There are 31.9 gigawatts of wind power on the main Texas grid, and half or more were financed with hedged contracts, according to market observers.