Blowing Through Texas : Renewable Energy Ploy Brings an Ill Wind



Blowing in the Wind

It’s the hitherto scenic, big sky Hill Country, with more stars than you can count in the night sky, that’s been chosen to carry the burden of hosting those high-voltage power lines between West Texas and the I-35 corridor and beyond.

By Sarito Carol Neiman / The Rag Blog / June 18, 2009

Renewable energy… it’s a good thing, right? And all us progressive types are really excited about getting behind the “new green economy.”

Then why has Texas, of all places, which is hardly known for supporting any tree-hugging, progressive tendencies among its citizenry, taken the lead in generating electricity from wind power? Why did the Texas legislature, together with the Public Utilities Commission — folks who are generally more friendly to Big Oil than the Sierra Club — create something called “Competitive Renewable Energy Zones” (CREZ) along with the wind farms to feed them, way back in 2005, smack dab in the middle of the Bush administration?



The answer, my friend, is… probably quite interesting, if my relatively cursory digs through the tangle of ol’ boy networks and overlapping board memberships to follow the money are any indication.

Meantime, plans are now proceeding full steam ahead to hook up all those new West Texas wind farms to “the grid” and build the infrastructure needed to transmit their renewable product to urban areas where it’s needed. Or will be needed, some day, so the theory goes. Because there appears to be no compelling need for all that electricity right at the present moment, we’ve got plenty.

The producers, however — persuaded to set themselves up in the stark landscape of West Texas by promises of great things to come — can’t start collecting their “federal production tax credits” and sell-able “renewable energy credits” till they have a functioning outlet to plug into. And it’s the hitherto scenic, big sky Hill Country, with more stars than you can count in the night sky, that’s been chosen to carry the burden of hosting those high-voltage power lines between West Texas and the I-35 corridor and beyond.

The diverse group of people who live in those Hill Country counties don’t like it much, and are mobilizing with energy and passion to head off, or at least minimize, a rape of the landscape that will be difficult if not impossible to reverse once it starts. Check out what they’re doing, and how you might be able to support them, at one or more of the following links:

To learn about the downsides of industrial wind power, see Wind Power Facts — it’s a good starting place to understand the issues.

The Rag Blog

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3 Responses to Blowing Through Texas : Renewable Energy Ploy Brings an Ill Wind

  1. Glycotech says:

    This has been an issue in Progressive circles since Jimmy Carter passed energy conservation and solar rebates thru the Congress, and times were booming.
    Unfortunately the cry came up that we needed BIG energy projects, Carter was just a wimp, etc.
    So here is the alternative, instead of having local solar which makes good sense, we have miles of new power lines for the energy to dissipate in.

  2. Steve Russell says:

    We already have a grid.

    I think we need to maintain a grid, at least until energy storage becomes a lot more efficient than it is now or in the foreseeable future.

    I’m OK with 100% subsidy for anybody who wants to get off the grid but I would not expect many takers with current technology.

    The sun does not always shine and the wind does not always blow. Geothermal COOLING is always there and could drastically cut power usage in air conditioning states, but if we changed the building codes tomorrow it would take several generations to play out because geothermal sinks are way too expensive to retrofit.

    Yes, there’s graft in sustainable power, like there is graft in everything in Texas, but I was tickled when for the first time in my political life I found myself on the same side a Boone Pickens AKA The Prince of Darkness in the Texas Lege.

    Anybody who wants off the grid, go by all means, ASAP. And let’s have subsidies to help that happen.

    For the vast majority of folks, it is not economically or politically tenable to oppose every possible power source on various shifting grounds and then, if that fails, oppose distributing the power.

    All possible power sources have downsides, some steeper than others.

    Power lines are not pretty.

    Neither are highways.

    I’m sure there’s some place to live with neither power lines nor highways.

    But I oppose the colonization of Antarctica on a number of environmental grounds…..

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wind and solar are special interests ENRON type scams that wouldn’t stand on their own without massive government subsidies.

    Nuclear class 3 and 4 are the real solutions with more efficient usage of coal.

    Germany, where the Green have derailed nuclear, are replacing the 8 dated nuclear reactors with, no solar or wind, but coal plants. They are relocating whole towns to get at the remaining lignite coal reserves, what a joke!

    So far the European countries that signed on the Kyoto treaty have been unable to even come close to their emission targets. It’s a big bureaucratic shell game. The governments make money of the Cap & Trade permits while the consumers pay ever increasing energy costs. It’s a big fiasco as far as controlling GHG’s are concerned.

    Hey, I have a good deal on a wind driven car, any takers?

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