Documents from Texas
Following severe energy shortages in Texas this winter, Texas Governor Abbott drafted this July 6th letter to the PUCT (Public Commission of Texas) calling for immediate action to improve the reliability of the state's electric system. Emphasis in Abbott's letter was on incentivizing new and existing generation for reliability purposes (natural gas, coal, and nuclear) and requiring intermittent resources including wind and solar to pay the price when they fail to deliver. The full three-member PUCT was recently appointed by the Governor. Details about the letter and the actual content of the letter can be accessed from this page.
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.
The North Texas Heritage Association sent this letter to APEX Clean Energy raising serious concerns over APEX's proposed project, Black Angus, and the threat to whooping crane populations. The Black Angus project and an unrelated wind project abutting it, will obstruct the centerline of the whooping cranes migratory corridor, putting at risk the sparse whooping crane population currently standing at only 505 in the wild. At minimum, the Heritage Association requests that APEX follow federal guidelines to adhere to environmental law, including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, as well as follow the procedure for obtaining an incidental take permit (ITP) from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Preferably, the Heritage Association recommends that the project be moved to a less environmentally sensitive location. An excerpt of the letter is provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page.
Apex Clean Energy and EDF Renewables have each proposed large wind energy facilities to be situated in Clay County, Texas. The project locations fall squarely within the Whooping Crane migratory corridor and are recognized as stop-over habitat for the birds. Wildlife biologist, Jennifer Blair of Blair Wildlife Consulting, prepared this assessment of the likely impacts to Whooping Crane if the projects are constructed. The report also provides a useful summary of the extent to which wind energy development has been allowed to penetrate the limited migration corridor of Whooping Cranes. A short excerpt of the Blair report is provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page.
Seventus LLC and Wharton Wind LLC are seeking to erect an industrial wind energy facility in Wharton County, Texas. A number of county residents organized in an effort to share information regarding the wind energy proposal and to discuss potential harmful impacts once the project is placed in service. Lacricia Ryan, who with her family operate a crop-dusting business in Wharton County, is part of the group looking to educate the community about the project.
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.