Articles from Texas
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.
A pair of whooping cranes walking along the edge of a wetland in central Kansas. Credit: Travis Wooten/USGS
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.
The first and most important point is this: We ignore the fragility of the electric grid at our peril. The Texas Blackouts are a stark reminder that the electric grid is our biggest, most important, and most complex network. Its strategic importance to our society cannot be overstated. The electric grid is the mother network, the network upon which all of our most-critical networks depend. We must pay more attention to its resilience and reliability.
RWE owns over 3 GW of mostly wind and some solar capacity in the state, and reduced availability of its generation fleet meant the company had to buy spot volumes to meet its supply obligations. Sky-high power prices in the area make this an expensive problem, which was further exacerbated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas directing grid operator Electric Reliability Council Of Texas Inc. to make price adjustments, RWE said.
Extreme weather is quite common and is likely to become more frequent in decades to come. We ought to recognize that 2021 isn’t a black swan event. We should use what we’ve learned about why — and when — power plants of all types fail to better prepare. It won’t prevent every weather-related blackout, but it sure will help.
Nearly half of Texas' installed wind power generation capacity has been offline because of frozen wind turbines in West Texas, according to Texas grid operators. Wind farms across the state generate up to a combined 25,100 megawatts of energy. But unusually moist winter conditions in West Texas brought on by the weekend's freezing rain and historically low temperatures have iced many of those wind turbines to a halt.
The spot price of wholesale electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000% on Monday amid a deep freeze across the state and rolling outages among power producers, according to data on the grid operator’s website.
Unusually moist winter conditions in West Texas brought on by the weekend's freezing rain and historically low temperatures have iced many of those wind turbines to a halt. As of Sunday morning, those iced turbines comprise 12,000 megawatts of Texas' installed wind generation capacity.
In a month or two, the Brown County Commissioners will decide on a proposal that affects all county residents. Intersect Power, a California-based solar-power development company, requested an 85 percent tax abatement over 10 years to build a 3,000-acre solar farm in southwest Brown County. There are countless reasons why this is a bad deal for Brown County. The commissioners want to hear what residents have to say, so we urge you to write, call or email your commissioner and tell them to vote no on the abatement.
A proposed wind farm project in West Texas has become a potential national security issue due to its Chinese owner who has ties to the communist regime in Beijing and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), experts say. ...The first concern is that the wind farm will be generating electricity, hence, it involves critical infrastructure and poses a risk to the Texas electric grid. Potential cyberattacks on the electrical grid could disrupt power utility operations, resulting in large-scale power outages.
That latest argument gained fresh attention when plans to build the Blue Hills Wind Farm in Val Verde County were unveiled. Critics claimed this new development could pose a threat to national security because Chinese businessman Guangxin Sun owns the land. They alleged that he had ties to the Chinese Communist Party and his company could use the wind farm to monitor U.S. military operations or interfere with the U.S. electrical grid.
A semi-tractor-trailer truck carrying wind turbine equipment rolled over on Texas State Highway 44 sending one to the hospital Saturday.
At 1 p.m. the wind farm employees were called for a "walk down," a meeting to discuss what still needed repairs. Johnson's supervisor noted he was not at the meeting and could not reach him via phone. About seven hours later, the supervisor began searching for him, according to the report.
Considering the many tax benefits which the wind industry is granted, it is somewhat surprising how few local jobs are created in either their construction or their operations. ...After taking advantage of these generous federal, state, and local tax abatements, these companies typically file valuation lawsuits against local county appraisal districts in an attempt to drastically lower their property taxes. This is almost always done immediately after their tax abatements expire.
At issue: A Chinese-backed project called Blue Hills Wind, which could bring more than 40 turbines to Val Verde County, Texas. The proposal's future is in doubt as the Trump administration ramps up criticism of both renewable energy and China.
Since Laughlin pumps an estimated $2 billion a year into Val Verde County’s economy, elected officials are eyeing the proposed wind farm project with trepidation. “My position, and probably the county’s, is that if it affects Laughlin Air Force Base, and hampers their ability to perform their mission, we are going to oppose it,” said County Commissioner Beau Nettleton. “I’m all for private property rights, but we have to protect the one thing that is the economic engine for Del Rio,” he added.