Library filed under General from Texas
For the past decade, Austin's ambition to become the world's clean-energy capital has been best exemplified by one effort: GreenChoice, a program that sells electricity generated entirely from renewable sources such as wind. Now the nationally renowned program is struggling to find buyers - the latest allotment is 99 percent unsold after seven months on the market - and Austin Energy is looking for ways to bring down the rising costs. ...It now costs almost three times more than the standard electricity rate.
A sense of foreboding has engulfed this rural town since word spread that huge towers carrying power lines soon may punctuate its ruggedly beautiful landscape. "It's a big deal to have something of that massive size come through here," Kimble County Judge Andy Murr said. "There are very few large transmission lines through the county."
T. Boone Pickens' plan to build the world's largest wind farm is off. Instead, Pickens said he will build five or six smaller wind farms, in the Midwest and possibly Texas, though he hasn't settled on locations. Last year, Pickens announced that he would build a 1,000-megawatt wind farm in Pampa, Texas.
A portion of a wind farm project in Kenedy County has been sold while the rest is up for sale. Australia-based Babcock and Brown is keeping the operation part of the Gulf Wind project, but has sold the rights to its expansion. Initial plans called for a total of 157 wind turbines and thus far 118 are spinning.
County commissioners plan to tackle concerns about the construction of wind farms out near Chapman Ranch. A concerned resident went before commissioners Wednesday saying he's concerned that wind farm companies are signing contracts with private land owners; that type of deal is not regulated by the state and would not require a public hearing.
About 400 landowners from Bell, Burnet, Coryell and Lampasas Counties showed up for a meeting Saturday night hoping to protect their land from an Oncor Electric Delivery Company transmission line project planned in their areas. Oncor's project, dubbed the Newton-Killeen 345 kV Transmission Line, would require clear-cutting an approximately 20-mile long, 160-foot-wide trail to accommodate towers that would transport wind energy through Central Texas.
The conflict between President Barack Obama's vision and Texas' reality boils down to a mix of politics and industry. While Obama has staked his economic recovery agenda on creating millions of green jobs, Texas depends on carbon dioxide jobs. Texas Republicans, out of power in Washington but still ruling Austin, oppose much of the Democratic energy agenda. Gov. Rick Perry says the policies would "have a devastating impact on the use of fossil fuels" and put "downward pressure on jobs, on our ability to create wealth."
Not in my backyard. That was the sentiment of residents Thursday night when LCRA hosted an open house on the campus of Tally Elementary School. Several hundred residents looked at maps and renderings of proposed transmission lines that might run through Kerr County to a proposed lift station north of Kerrville.
Jack County commissioners received official notice Monday of a new wind energy project during a regular meeting of the court. Representatives from Gamesa Energy were present to detail Senate Wind LLC and lay the groundwork for a request for a re-investment zone. ...Larry Guyton, who owns property in the Senate area, approached the court with concerns about the new project. He said he was representing seven of his neighbors who, because of the lack of notice of the Gamesa presentation, could not attend the meeting.
Some residents who live along one of the proposed paths are concerned about how the power lines will affect the appearance of their natural landscape. Some also are concerned about the preservation of historical sites in the area. Oncor Electric Delivery is one of 13 entities that will be part of this transmission line project, as 850 miles of the project falls in their coverage area. Company officials held area public meetings recently to explain the project. They said feedback was important for them, and they would take that under consideration in choosing routes for the lines.
The Lower Colorado River Authority plans to build, own and operate about 600 miles of new and rebuilt existing transmission lines and facilities ...The project is one of the system improvements deemed necessary by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and ordered by the PUC to be constructed to meet the mandate of Senate Bill 20, that requires energy production in Texas include 5,000 megawatts of renewable wind generation by 2015.
Australian-based Babcock and Brown is looking for a buyer for its Kenedy County wind farm ...The company announced in February its plans to sell Gulf Wind, saying it will sell its assets over a two- to three-year period to reduce the company's debt level.
Iberdrola Renewables has completed development of a new wind farm near the Texas Gulf Coast that will supply renewable energy to CPS Energy customers. CPS Energy has a 15-year contract in place with Iberdrola to purchase 76.8 megawatts of energy from the Peñascal Wind Farm. ...The wind farm has been fitted with 84 Mitsubishi turbines with a total generating capacity of 202 megawatts.
The rush of wind turbines is still a few years away, but questions about the best way to make them pay are here today. The uncertainty already has sparked a growing niche practice for law firms. Local attorneys primarily represent landowners who want to know the contracts they are signing with wind energy developers are fair. Not all the questions are easy to answer.
An energy company is considering adding as many as 30 windmills to the Texas City skyline. City commissioners on Wednesday approved a resolution supporting a study by Duke Energy of the feasibility of building a windmill farm at the site of the county water reservoir at state Highway 146 near Attwater Road in north Texas City. The cost of the project is estimated at more than $200 million.
Mesa Power said Monday it's cutting back on plans for a massive wind farm in the Panhandle, but is ready to move forward on the first phase of the project. ...Mesa said previously it will rely on the federal production tax credit for wind farms. Congress just renewed the program, which provides as much as one third of the income earned by wind farms, for three years.
The West Central Texas area, centered on Abilene and Sweetwater, may be the wind energy capital of North America, but the wind farms have yet to meet their full production capacity. And they won't for at least a few more years. That's because the construction of wind farms has outpaced the capacity of transmission lines to ferry the energy to market. ...How much electricity generation is lost by having to curtail production for lack of transmission capacity is uncertain, said Roark.
The company that owns one of two wind farms in Kenedy County is going out of business. Australia-based investment firm Babcock & Brown, which developed the Gulf Wind project south of Sarita, has agreed to sell its assets over three years to repay about $2 billion in debt, Matt Dallas, Babcock & Brown spokesman, said. After these assets are sold, the firm will cease to exist, Dallas said.
The state's electricity regulator has set in motion a process that will more than triple the capacity of infrastructure to carry electricity from West Texas wind farms to the state's big cities. The Public Utility Commission of Texas cleared 13 companies to build transmission lines at a total projected cost of nearly $5 billion - a move that could jump-start construction of additional wind turbines in the Concho Valley and across West Texas, local leaders said.
A wind-farm developer with a troubled parent but big plans for the Panhandle tried Tuesday to confirm its commitment to the project. Babcock & Brown Renewable Holdings filed a letter Tuesday with the Public Utilities Commission explaining why it withdrew its letter of credit for a 1,000-megawatt wind farm it still plans to build in Carson and Gray counties.