03/7/14

Regulators Scheming to Introduce Electricity Tax In Texas

Texas electricityFears abound among Texans that the state is running out of energy.  This is the idea being touted by electricity generators and the Public Utilities Commission of Texas.  However, nothing could be further from the truth, as the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas has released data reflecting that the state has more than enough energy to sustain it for another four years, with more on the way.

One of the proposals to solve the supposed insufficient energy are for the government to assume control of the electricity market.  If this should happen, electricity consumers would be charged an electricity tax amounting to $4 billion a year.  This would make the Texas electricity tax among the largest taxes in the state, superseding that of  oil production, beverage and insurance taxes.

Many people are not happy with this proposal but only a few are voicing their opinion against the idea.  Among those who are in total opposition of the electricity tax are State Senator Troy Fraser and Agriculture Commissioner, Troy Fraser.

01/23/14

San Antonio Gets New Solar Farm

solar-panels-texasA $110 million dollar investment by OCI Solar has led to construction of a new solar farm located just  a few miles south of San Antonio.  The new solar farm is called Alamo 1 and is quite large.  It spans 453 acres and consists of 167, 000 solar panels. Alamo 1 has the capacity to generate 40 megawatts which is enough energy to power more than 6,000 homes in San Antonio.

Alamo 1 recently began its operation and will generate energy during San Antonio’s peak hours of energy usage.  OCI Solar will sell the energy generated by the solar farm to to CPS Energy.

Alamo 1 is the first of a series of solar farm projects by OCI Solar.  Upon completion of all the solar farm projects, it is expected that they will together generate 400 megawatts of energy.  The locations of the other solar farm projects have not yet been revealed.

01/23/14

Renewable Energy Subsidies Not As Effective As Originally Thought

wind-farm-texasThe rapid increase of wind farms in the United States and especially Texas is due largely to renewable energy subsidies.  The subsidies are currently the most popular policy instrument used to lessen carbon dioxide emissions and will likely continue due to the lack of absence of national climate legislation.  Studies have, however, revealed that these subsidies are not as beneficial as we may have thought.

The study conducted by Washington University revealed that in order for the wind power subsidies to be beneficial, the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions has to exceed $42 per ton.  The current social cost for carbon dioxide ranges between $7 and $81 and the projected cost for 2015 ranges from $12 to $116 per ton.

Texas electricity rates have been held below the national average, prompting many Texas voters to lean towards keeping the subsidies in place.

Although wind energy is emission free and reduces the output of fossil fuel generators, the emission rate of fossil fuels that is offset by wind energy relies heavily on which generators reduce their output.

01/21/14

Does Texas Rely On Electricity From Wind Power Too Much?

tx wind energyThe winter vortex spun the wind turbines in the state of Texas at near-record rates.  However, that does mean that some people are not skeptical about how much wind power should be used in the state.  According to some, wind power is just no reliable enough.

After there was a close brush with the entire power grid of the state failing, wind power helped to save the day, but wind power only accounts for about nine percent.  During the power shortage, wind was only accounting for 3.2% of all the power usage in the state.  While that small percentage was important on that one day, people understand that win is not totally reliable.

While ERCOT could move more wind turbines to places where wind is forecast to be strongest, those forecasts are not 100% accurate either.  Changing the face of the energy industry in Texas could start with wind power, but it appears that wind power can never be the whole future of Texas energy.