Articles filed under General from Texas
An inconvenient truth is hanging over Georgetown, Texas: Its celebrated shift to renewable energy doesn’t look like a national model these days. Electric rates are up. Critics are blasting the costs. And the city north of Austin is trying to figure out how to mitigate the situation.
In the wide-open spaces of Val Verde County lies the Devils River, one of the last pristine, wild rivers in Texas. Recently, it was at the center of a monthslong negotiation. "Absolutely. It's a major win for us and for future generations of Texas and for anyone else who cares about the wide-open spaces in our state,” explained Julie Lewey, with the Devils River Conservancy.
“I know two people that want to do this and live in the county,” Commissioner Dennis DeWitt told county leaders last week. “One of them is a large landowner. They more or less have been promised wind generators on their property. “Everybody else in the northern part of the county does not want these to go in. So if and when it comes to commissioners, we will make an appropriate decision.”
Texas is the nation’s leader in commercial wind power, while Louisiana remains on the sidelines. Harnessing the wind has taken off in the last decade. But the Pelican State’s wind speeds, regulatory framework, abundant natural gas, and opposition from farmers and others, along with the industry’s technical obstacles, have kept projects from launching. Ironically, companies in Louisiana, however, provide expertise and equipment to wind installations in other states.
“This is an industry that is costing taxpayers millions and the general public deserves to be fully aware of its cost,” Ryan said. Ryan’s message was heard at the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Policy Orientation for the Texas Legislature. More than 100 legislators attended.
These structures have a high-tech twist, say officials with the wind farm’s owner, Acciona Energy. ...The soil anchors are 40 to 60 feet deep, and not only solidify the wind turbine foundations but they allow construction crews to create a smaller footprint for the platforms.
The Devils River Conservancy, is spearheading the “Don’t Blow It” campaign to advocate for thoughtful regulation of wind energy development — an industry quickly expanding in rural Texas, largely without rules and with serious negative implications for Texans.
Georgetown officials will try to renegotiate the city’s renewable energy contracts and find other cost cuts after a late-summer drop in energy market prices lost the city’s utility $6.84 million.
“It’s my impression, that something was done wrong, incorrectly, illegally, inappropriately, that’s what this is saying. We had a beautiful place to live, now we’re looking at 12, 500-foot tall industrial wind turbine towers on one side of our house and on the other side there’s 100-foot tall transmission line towers — we were never notified of any of this. When the surveyors came onto our property they wouldn’t tell me who they were or what they were doing there. I found out from one town employee, they were from the wind project, we never received a thing about this. What the project was, the scope, implications, impacts. That’s what I’m saying, this is my impression.”
The 300 megawatt Sage Draw Wind farm — which is selling electricity to Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) under a power purchase agreement with the farm’s owner, Denmark-based Ørsted — is set to draw $22.56 million in tax incentives over the course of 10 years.
Texas has virtually no rules of any kind, making it an unregulated haven that attracts even more growth from the wind industry here. That worries some who fear what today’s rush will mean for the future.
Detractors of the project said the county needs to consider the cost to resident and the benefit they will receive in return. Chapter 312 of the Texas Tax Code was enacted to bring jobs to Texas, which allows taxpayers incentivize development via their local governments, the development brings jobs, and taxpayers benefit with employment opportunities and increased tax revenue.
About 40 attended the forum at the Brownwood High School auditorium, and several went forward, at the invitation of moderator and Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes, to give opinions — mostly against — on wind energy. May landowner Joe Guidry was an exception, saying those opposed to wind farms “have a biased agenda based on a multitude of different platforms.”
Conservative lawmakers, an oil investor and other activists did all they could to stop a wind project in rural Texas, even as the state has increasingly embraced renewable energy. Earlier this year, a Canadian energy producer was poised to build two large wind farms in Clay County, a mostly featureless stretch of plains at the Texas-Oklahoma line. The 300-megawatt project would have bolstered Texas’ growing portfolio of renewable energy, which last year supplied a record 17 percent of the state’s electricity. But then anti-wind farm activists led by John Greer, a Dallas oil investor, swooped into the farming and ranching community to attack the deal.
A company is asking Brown County land owners to lease their property for a wind farm. While a handful of land owners have signed on already, the issue has caused division among neighbors in Brown County.
CLAY COUNTY — On a sweltering weekday in mid-July, it takes a dozen good cowboys on the historic Sanzenbacher Ranch to get the round-up done.
Company remains focused on 5-7 percent earnings growth through investments to improve service for customers COLUMBUS, Ohio – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is canceling the Wind Catcher project as a result of the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ July 26 decision to deny approval of the project. The project had been approved by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, Louisiana Public Service Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. A decision was pending at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
AEP's original schedule called for the need to order the longest-lead-time equipment by Aug. 6. Through some negotiations, it has been able to delay those orders until the end of August, but the company can't afford to delay much longer, AEP CFO Brian Tierney told investors. It needs to make its timetables in order for developer Invenergy LLC to complete the wind farm by 2020.
The 2,000 MW Wind Catcher Energy Connection project proposed by SWEPCO, a subsidiary of American Electric Power, came under scrutiny from the PUCT earlier this week as the regulators questioned the prudence of putting such a large investment on ratepayers, particularly with the inclusion of a $1.6 billion transmission line to move the energy from the wind farm.
Regulators threw a wrench in American Electric Power’s massive Wind Catcher Energy Connection on Thursday, expressing concerns over whether the company will protect ratepayers from the project’s risks. ...“I’m going to be upfront with you,” [Public Utility Commission Chair DeAnn] Walker said ...“At this point, I can’t approve the [project].” Walker said she would need additional consumer protections from SWEPCO, which would own 70% of the $4.5 billion project.