Articles 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.
The close call in Texas in mid-August should be a lesson for ERCOT to rethink how it is valuing dispatchable, baseload power. The addition of more intermittent capacity to the market will likely make the reliability challenges Texas is facing only more difficult to manage. Further, the 100% renewable goal that several states have instituted should be viewed as a farce as the City of Georgetown recently discovered.
Ellis was excited when she first heard about the wind farm. ...She started researching wind farms and cross-checked the sources the company listed at the bottom of its informational flier for the Wild Cat Creek Wind Farm. Reading studies and first-person accounts, she decided it might be hard to live near wind turbines, which emit constant noise and have flashing lights at night. ...Ellis also worries about her son, who has autism and is sound-sensitive. She worries he won't be able to stand the turbines and that they will have to leave the ranch.
On August 12, a heatwave drove electricity demand in Texas to an all-time high. Electricity prices across the Texas power grid surged 36,000 percent, to roughly $6,537 per megawatt-hour—far higher than the average Texas price of $20 to $30 per megawatt-hour. Not only did electricity demand climb enormously as Texans cranked their air conditioners in 100-degree weather, but electricity generation at Texas wind farms simultaneously fell 50 percent due to lack of wind in the hot, listless air.
A motor on a wind turbine caught fire and is blamed for sparking a wildfire Monday in Mulberry Canyon in southwest Taylor County that has burned more than 200 acres.
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.
Amid bargain-basement prices for gas, there hasn't yet been an incentive for the state's power market to build anything other than natural gas plants, wind and solar resources. But wind is intermittent, and the wind died down during the height of this month's heat wave, ERCOT found itself with even fewer sources of electricity. ..."when wind gets to be a substantial part of the power system, if you don't have good connections with neighboring systems, that can really get you into a lot of trouble in maintaining system stability."
Part of the suit claims the April 8, 2019, vote by Cooke County commissioners to create a tax abatement reinvestment zone under Chapter 312 of the Texas Tax Code was illegal and in “violation of Chapter 176 of the Local Government Code, inter alia, because Wildcat had not at the time, and has not to date, satisfied the disclosure requirements for vendors and other persons required by Chapter 176.”
“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.
Last fall, Keith Uhles, an engineer with the oil-and-gas firm CrownRock Minerals, invited other young West Texas professionals to join him at a popular Midland Mexican restaurant for a conversation about renewable energy subsidies.
The city lost $21.8 million on its wind and solar contracts from 2016 to 2018 due to the falling prices of oil and gas, according to figures provided by City Manager David Morgan. Georgetown is renegotiating its 20- to 25-year wind and solar contracts to try to get a better deal, Morgan has said.
“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.
Facing a shrinking reserve margin, Texas utility regulators have ordered the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to make a change to its “operating reserve demand curve,” or ORDC, which will increase real-time prices when power supplies are limited.
Electric bills for city of Georgetown customers will increase by an average of $12.82 per month starting Feb. 1 to help the city recover the cost of purchasing energy, according to a city news release.
Calpine Corp. of Houston and NRG Energy of Houston and Princeton, N.J., asked the state to assign transmission losses based on the distance the power travels, a move that would benefit traditional power companies which tend to have plants closer to population centers and hurt wind and solar farms in the remote parts of the state
The indefinite mothballing of a 470-MW coal-fired plant has reduced ERCOT’s “pretty scary” reserve margin of 8.1% to 7.4%, prodding the Texas Public Utility Commission into ordering several market changes.
The Wharton County Commissioners Court unanimously decided not to move forward with a 312 tax abatement application from Wharton Wind, LLC during its Monday session. The 5-0 decision came in front of dozens of people who packed the meeting room inside the Wharton County Annex Building in Wharton.
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.