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How Texas Lassoed the Wind

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Texas has harnessed the wind to provide at times more than 20 percent of its electricity. How did the Lone Star State do it?

By Peter Behr and Climatewire

AUSTIN, Texas -- Feb. 28, 2010, was a banner day for Texas wind to set the clouds -- and electrons -- flying.

In the Panhandle, gusts reached 47 miles per hour and wind generators delivered a record 6,242 megawatts of power to Dallas, Austin and other population centers. At 1 p.m., 22 percent of all the electricity consumed in the Texas grid was coming from wind.

To proud Texans like Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, such records document the state's position as the "epicenter of land-based wind production" in the United States, if not the world, as the chairman put it.

At the end of 2009, the capacity of Texas wind turbines, reaching to the horizons of farm and prairie land, totaled 9,410 megawatts, well more than the combined total of the next three largest wind-power states, Iowa, California and Washington. Over the course of a year, wind power is providing 5 percent of Texas' demand, and that would more than double if the state's grid goals are achieved.

Is Texas the model for how expanding renewable generation and smart grid technologies could transform the nation's utility sector? Or is the ornery independence of the Texas grid a telling example of how regional differences confront the search for national policies on energy? Evidence for both cases jumps out from the Lone Star State.

It clearly is center stage displaying the engineering, industry and political challenges of a large-scale build-out of wind, as called for by President Obama and his party's leaders in Congress. "It is a laboratory, if you like, a pilot, a test case," says Gürcan Gülen, senior energy economist at the University of Texas, Austin.

The state's pioneering electricity deregulation statute in 1999 included, almost as an afterthought, a requirement that Texas develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power by 2009.

To prime the market, it created an energy trading program requiring power retailers to acquire -- and then retire -- renewable energy credits. Texas raced past that first renewable energy milestone in 2005, four years ahead of schedule, and is closing in on the new goal of 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025.

More than half the states now have renewable energy mandates or goals, but Texas was at the front of the pack.

Looking to Texas for answers

Deregulation in Texas has created competitive electricity markets at wholesale and retail levels that, while suffering some "tortuous" growing pains, as one expert put it, have invited innovation and experimentation. Millions of smart electric meters are being installed throughout the state. Austin is the site of the one of the nation's primary federal smart grid experiments, the Pecan Street Project, testing whether utilities can profitably switch from selling kilowatts to conserving them.

"We can bring new technologies very quickly into the market," said Warren Lasher, manager of system assessment for ERCOT -- the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state's grid operator. "If all these things come together, we could see significant changes" in the state's electricity system, Lasher said.

"You can't cut and paste from Texas to California or Pennsylvania. But Texas stakeholders have spent a lot of time learning how to evolve our markets," said Texas energy consultant Mark Bruce.

Perhaps the state's most striking advance was the approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas in 2005 of a plan to build a matrix of new transmission lines across west and central Texas to tap the full potential of its wind power. The commission is overseeing the $5 billion construction of 2,300 miles of high-voltage lines into the wind zones. While some projects have been delayed by siting issues and court disputes, and the regulatory timetable is tight, the expansion is still headed for substantial completion by 2013 to 2015, experts say. Then the network will be able to handle up to 18,000 megawatts of wind power at peak output.

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The national push for more wind turbine-generated electricity could turn Illinois into a transmission hub.

"Illinois is the crossroads. Historically, whether it's rails, shipping, travel, O'Hare airport, it's a geographical midpoint, or hub, positioned for all things moving west to east," said Thomas O'Neill, chief operating officer at Chicago-based Exelon Transmission Co., a unit of Exelon Corp.

But while regulators are paving the way for wind-farm development with tax credits and loosened regulations, the key challenge facing those developers is that existing transmission lines, substations and transformers are inadequate to handle the amount of energy expected to come from wind farms in various stages of development across the country. There's already a waiting list for wind-farm developers who want to hook into the existing grid.

"It's easy to be green and say let's build wind but we have to think about — how are we going to deliver that?" said O'Neill.

In the near term, companies are opting to harness wind power closer to existing transmission lines, usually near urban areas, to avoid the lengthy and costly process of building new lines. Aside from pockets of strong winds in the midsection of Illinois, however, some of the most powerful wind in the U.S. stretches from the upper Midwest, south, into Texas.

In order to integrate and move that alternative power east through Illinois, the grid would have to be expanded and upgraded, say transmission experts and utility companies.

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Peace to All creatures great and small............................................

But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

Peppi_drinking_beer.jpg

my burro, bosco ..enjoying a beer in almaty

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.ph...st&id=10835

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But while regulators are paving the way for wind-farm development with tax credits and loosened regulations, the key challenge facing those developers is that existing transmission lines, substations and transformers are inadequate to handle the amount of energy expected to come from wind farms in various stages of development across the country. There's already a waiting list for wind-farm developers who want to hook into the existing grid.

"It's easy to be green and say let's build wind but we have to think about — how are we going to deliver that?" said O'Neill.

IMO, that's where we should be focusing our efforts on (modernizing our grid systems).

texas_cowgirl_fuck_yall_were_from_texas.jpg

Yahooooo, brother Dean! :thumbs:

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Thank you, Deano. :thumbs:

That little filly needs to broken and ridden hard, up yours indeed. :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil: :devil:

Honestly I half expected this thread to be about the collection of methane from patrons of Taco Bell. :P

Edited by IR5FORMUMSIE

IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

tumblr_lme0c1CoS21qe0eclo1_r6_500.gif

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texas1.jpg

Peace to All creatures great and small............................................

But when we turn to the Hebrew literature, we do not find such jokes about the donkey. Rather the animal is known for its strength and its loyalty to its master (Genesis 49:14; Numbers 22:30).

Peppi_drinking_beer.jpg

my burro, bosco ..enjoying a beer in almaty

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/index.ph...st&id=10835

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IMO, that's where we should be focusing our efforts on (modernizing my grid systems).

Dude, your grid system is so fvcked-up. it cant be fixed. Fixxored.


"I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."- Ayn Rand

“Your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you.”

― Andrew Wilkow

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texas1.jpg

I'd like to hook her with my horn. :devil: :devil: :devil:


IR5

2007-07-27 – Case complete at NVC waiting on the world or at least MTL.

2007-12-19 - INTERVIEW AT MTL, SPLIT DECISION.

2007-12-24-Mom's I-551 arrives, Pop's still in purgatory (AP)

2008-03-11-AP all done, Pop is approved!!!!

tumblr_lme0c1CoS21qe0eclo1_r6_500.gif

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