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Clean Power Wind Power

Published on July 25th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

78

Texas To Build Wind Power Superhighway

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July 25th, 2008 by
 
Wind Power

We’ve all heard of the Information Superhighway; Now it’s time to welcome the Wind Power Superhighway.

In what is purported to be the largest investment in clean, renewable energy in US history, Texas has been given preliminary approval for a $4.9 billion plan to build transmission lines to carry wind power from West Texas to urban areas such as Dallas.

Texas is already the national leader in wind power, but the new transmission lines will make sure wind energy is used to its fullest potential, since most of Texas’ wind power is produced in windy West Texas. The new plan won’t directly create new turbines, but it will add enough transmission lines to move 18,000 megawatts. That’s enough energy to power 4 million homes.

The superhighway won’t just help facilitate the spread of wind power; supporters think it will also create jobs, lower energy costs, and reduce pollution.

Texas citizens will have to assist with the plan’s construction; they will pay an extra $3 to $4 per month on their bills for the next few years. But this pales in comparison to the amount they can save with lower energy prices.

Renewable energy companies are eager to jump on the bandwagon. Yesterday, Oncor, an electric distribution and transmission business, filed with the Public Utility Commission in Texas to indicate its desire to build a large portion of the superhighway.

With a proposal that could provide Texas with more wind energy than the next 14 states combined, perhaps the state’s legacy will be one of wind, not oil.

More Posts on Wind Energy:

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • http://www.esmoke.dk E-Cigarette Man

    Quite interesting to go back and read these old posts.

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  • Steve

    WHERE IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT?

  • Steve

    WHERE IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT?

  • Dr John Paul Schwartz

    Warning, as good as this energy source may be in terms of pollution, it has already been found to be fatal to some of the most sensitive of our animal population. Before we kill massive numbers of these animals just like we have done to the frog poplulation in the US which has been massively destroyed and radically changed the lakes and wetlands of this country. We must come up with a solution NOW before the effect becomes massive…consider this article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14593

  • Dr John Paul Schwartz

    Warning, as good as this energy source may be in terms of pollution, it has already been found to be fatal to some of the most sensitive of our animal population. Before we kill massive numbers of these animals just like we have done to the frog poplulation in the US which has been massively destroyed and radically changed the lakes and wetlands of this country. We must come up with a solution NOW before the effect becomes massive…consider this article: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14593

  • Jerry R

    “Texas citizens will have to assist with the plan’s construction; they will pay an extra $3 to $4 per month on their bills for the next few years. But this pales in comparison to the amount they can save with lower energy prices.”

    this simply is not the case. I am 100% for wind energy – but we are going to pay for it.. That is what the ACCOUNTING is…

    When you say stuff like this… and it does not happen… people lose faith in your advocacy.

    Going to cost more. That’s ok..

    it will cost more per KWH, for sure…

  • Jerry R

    “Texas citizens will have to assist with the plan’s construction; they will pay an extra $3 to $4 per month on their bills for the next few years. But this pales in comparison to the amount they can save with lower energy prices.”

    this simply is not the case. I am 100% for wind energy – but we are going to pay for it.. That is what the ACCOUNTING is…

    When you say stuff like this… and it does not happen… people lose faith in your advocacy.

    Going to cost more. That’s ok..

    it will cost more per KWH, for sure…

  • Josh Barns

    Photovoltaic? NTY! These cells are only 25% efficient at capturing their energy source, photons. Wind works better, typically, on cloudy days and the windiest areas of the US just so happen to be the exact same areas where we pump all that black goo out of the ground. I recently, 4 months ago, installed a 10 Kw turbine on my .5 acre property in western Washington state and have been able to sell back 16$/ month, on average (during less windy summer months in this area), worth of electricity back to our PUD. The unit and battery storage cost me about 8k total and will completely pay for itself in 5 years and 2 months at my current estimates. The upfront cost hurdle is the thing we need to get over. I realize most homes can’t afford this initial cost, but through government incentives and tax deductions we can minimize this cost. If local government starts to dedicate the same lands they do for high-tension towers to wind turbines we could be green inside 10 years. It’s the pacs and lobbys you have to conquer first!!! We have a 1740 sq ft home with myself, my wife, and our daughter in our home and we use energy saving lighting and energy star rated appliances in our home, if that helps anyone gauge their needs a bit better. I am telling you, wind is the way of the future…period! The turbine is on an SSV tower at 28 meters with 7m blades and is unbelievably quiet. We average 13 mph wind speed in this area. I am using my batteries a lot in the summer months, but I figure this will stop during fall, winter and spring when our winds pick up drastically in this part of the state. We also have adopted an energy efficient living strategy. We don’t do ALL our laundry on the same day, we do one load 4 days/ week. We put our computer on stand-by every time we walk away from it. My daughter has been taught to walk around the house every hour and turns lights off. She is 4 and this is how we taught her how to tell time. She is a wiz at it now and is constantly reminding my wife (who seems to have the hardest time adjusting to the lifestyle) to turn off lights when she leaves the room! We get a kick out of it. My projections are for 23,000 Kw of energy by May of 2009. Which is actually 4,000Kw above the average projections for my area. My neighboors have all expressed interest after I showed them my first paymeny from our PUD. I can’t say enough good things about it! If you have the up-front capitol and even approach the suggested 11mph average wind-speed suggested for best operation you can say good-bye to your power company forever. I installed the tower myself which saved me 2k, and it wasn’t that hard to do due to the helpful nature of green-industry companies’ employees. There are cheaper options, such as the 1Kw turbines that are shockingly small and easy to install that supplement your power if you live in an area with less than desireable average wind-speeds. The residential market has taken leaps and bounds over the last 5 years and I may decide to upgrade my current turbine once this one pays for itself. Now if only I could get a company to make me an electric car so I can charge it off this thing and have a carbon footprint of near zero!!!

  • Josh Barns

    Photovoltaic? NTY! These cells are only 25% efficient at capturing their energy source, photons. Wind works better, typically, on cloudy days and the windiest areas of the US just so happen to be the exact same areas where we pump all that black goo out of the ground. I recently, 4 months ago, installed a 10 Kw turbine on my .5 acre property in western Washington state and have been able to sell back 16$/ month, on average (during less windy summer months in this area), worth of electricity back to our PUD. The unit and battery storage cost me about 8k total and will completely pay for itself in 5 years and 2 months at my current estimates. The upfront cost hurdle is the thing we need to get over. I realize most homes can’t afford this initial cost, but through government incentives and tax deductions we can minimize this cost. If local government starts to dedicate the same lands they do for high-tension towers to wind turbines we could be green inside 10 years. It’s the pacs and lobbys you have to conquer first!!! We have a 1740 sq ft home with myself, my wife, and our daughter in our home and we use energy saving lighting and energy star rated appliances in our home, if that helps anyone gauge their needs a bit better. I am telling you, wind is the way of the future…period! The turbine is on an SSV tower at 28 meters with 7m blades and is unbelievably quiet. We average 13 mph wind speed in this area. I am using my batteries a lot in the summer months, but I figure this will stop during fall, winter and spring when our winds pick up drastically in this part of the state. We also have adopted an energy efficient living strategy. We don’t do ALL our laundry on the same day, we do one load 4 days/ week. We put our computer on stand-by every time we walk away from it. My daughter has been taught to walk around the house every hour and turns lights off. She is 4 and this is how we taught her how to tell time. She is a wiz at it now and is constantly reminding my wife (who seems to have the hardest time adjusting to the lifestyle) to turn off lights when she leaves the room! We get a kick out of it. My projections are for 23,000 Kw of energy by May of 2009. Which is actually 4,000Kw above the average projections for my area. My neighboors have all expressed interest after I showed them my first paymeny from our PUD. I can’t say enough good things about it! If you have the up-front capitol and even approach the suggested 11mph average wind-speed suggested for best operation you can say good-bye to your power company forever. I installed the tower myself which saved me 2k, and it wasn’t that hard to do due to the helpful nature of green-industry companies’ employees. There are cheaper options, such as the 1Kw turbines that are shockingly small and easy to install that supplement your power if you live in an area with less than desireable average wind-speeds. The residential market has taken leaps and bounds over the last 5 years and I may decide to upgrade my current turbine once this one pays for itself. Now if only I could get a company to make me an electric car so I can charge it off this thing and have a carbon footprint of near zero!!!

  • Contrarian Viewpoint

    Check out Investors Business Daily on Thursday, August 24th. Speaker of the House Pelosi has a financial stake in Boone T. Pickens wind farm that relies upon government subsidies to make it economically feasible.

    The speaker profits directly from her political support for “green” wind power. Look at all sides of the issue before heralding the “solution”.

  • http://islandinthenet.com Khurt

    What happens when the next hurricane rips the wind generators to shreds?

  • http://islandinthenet.com Khurt

    What happens when the next hurricane rips the wind generators to shreds?

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  • Bill

    Reading the Texans posts on here,and being a winter Texan now ,an having lived in Corpus Christi for the past 7 yrs i can tell you you don’t want an electric bill from that state at least CC here i am paying 70$ a month in mid summer in CC i was paying 350 2 375 $$ a mo. in the summer.An not much less in the winter as i had a heat pump. Texans really get ripped off for the price of energy and i can see why those wind programs will fi t them greatly… BILL

  • Bill

    Reading the Texans posts on here,and being a winter Texan now ,an having lived in Corpus Christi for the past 7 yrs i can tell you you don’t want an electric bill from that state at least CC here i am paying 70$ a month in mid summer in CC i was paying 350 2 375 $$ a mo. in the summer.An not much less in the winter as i had a heat pump. Texans really get ripped off for the price of energy and i can see why those wind programs will fi t them greatly… BILL

  • Keith Newton

    I think this is a great start but would rather that each of us make our own power at home or at least in the same block. Better to keep it local anything then make such a pink elephant as these electrical lines that would be so easily taken out with a balloon. You want energy security not just energy. Make your lines for now but make encentives so we all have power 24/7 even if you get industry started in the process.

  • christiegirl

    These towers are made by a committed and caring manufacturing team…I should know, I’m one of them.

    Keep up the good work, Texas, lead by example!!! :)

  • christiegirl

    These towers are made by a committed and caring manufacturing team…I should know, I’m one of them.

    Keep up the good work, Texas, lead by example!!! :)

  • Keith Newton

    I think this is a great start but would rather that each of us make our own power at home or at least in the same block. Better to keep it local anything then make such a pink elephant as these electrical lines that would be so easily taken out with a balloon. You want energy security not just energy. Make your lines for now but make encentives so we all have power 24/7 even if you get industry started in the process.

  • http://www.iranwindturbine.com Bakhshi

    Very good.

    This is a good devlopment for future of human being.

  • http://www.iranwindturbine.com Bakhshi

    Very good.

    This is a good devlopment for future of human being.

  • J. R.

    The main issue I actually see with this is the “if you build it, they will come” argument. They’re blindly facilitating a modestly beneficial practice with a very large sum of money without particularly claiming to have any developer or energy company backing them.

    With that kind of money, It’d be possible to trim energy demands through high-development-density contemporary urban design focusing on compact industrial development, industrial waste symbiosis and district overlay zoning giving incentives by lowered property taxes and removing impact fees.

    High-density, adaptable environments have a bigger tax basin per acre to drawn on at higher densities with less administration, operation and maintenance fees allowing for recycling, clean liquid waste incineration, clean sorted garbage incineration, sewer gas reclamation (can replace gas used in high-temp furnaces) and district HVAC systems. Reconfiguring urban environments is not only smart but extremely profitable while solving most cultural, financial and environmental issues.

  • J. R.

    The main issue I actually see with this is the “if you build it, they will come” argument. They’re blindly facilitating a modestly beneficial practice with a very large sum of money without particularly claiming to have any developer or energy company backing them.

    With that kind of money, It’d be possible to trim energy demands through high-development-density contemporary urban design focusing on compact industrial development, industrial waste symbiosis and district overlay zoning giving incentives by lowered property taxes and removing impact fees.

    High-density, adaptable environments have a bigger tax basin per acre to drawn on at higher densities with less administration, operation and maintenance fees allowing for recycling, clean liquid waste incineration, clean sorted garbage incineration, sewer gas reclamation (can replace gas used in high-temp furnaces) and district HVAC systems. Reconfiguring urban environments is not only smart but extremely profitable while solving most cultural, financial and environmental issues.

  • http://www.awea.org Tom Gray

    Some misconceptions here.

    First, this is not Mr. Pickens’s plan. He’s working on a separate project that will have its own transmission line (and add another 4,000 megawatts to Texas’s total).

    Second, the basis for the decision is that the transmission lines will save money for utility customers, as wind power displaces electricity generated with natural gas. Projections suggest that the lines should pay for themselves in 3-4 years.

    Regards,

    Thomas O. Gray

    American Wind Energy Association

    http://www.powerofwind.org

    http://www.awea.org

    http://www.20percentwind.org

  • http://www.awea.org Tom Gray

    Some misconceptions here.

    First, this is not Mr. Pickens’s plan. He’s working on a separate project that will have its own transmission line (and add another 4,000 megawatts to Texas’s total).

    Second, the basis for the decision is that the transmission lines will save money for utility customers, as wind power displaces electricity generated with natural gas. Projections suggest that the lines should pay for themselves in 3-4 years.

    Regards,

    Thomas O. Gray

    American Wind Energy Association

    http://www.powerofwind.org

    http://www.awea.org

    http://www.20percentwind.org

  • http://www.boredquiz.com Wind Quiz

    Good news,if such a system is successful it will be a role model for many other new similar projects in other states as well.

  • http://www.boredquiz.com Wind Quiz

    Good news,if such a system is successful it will be a role model for many other new similar projects in other states as well.

  • z

    agreed, texans will get NOTHING out of this. We will have to pay this additional tax and wind will not satisfy us. What happens when it is 110F and NO WIND. We do not store power…read BROWNOUTS!!!

    constant power is the solution (or several alt solutions)

  • z

    agreed, texans will get NOTHING out of this. We will have to pay this additional tax and wind will not satisfy us. What happens when it is 110F and NO WIND. We do not store power…read BROWNOUTS!!!

    constant power is the solution (or several alt solutions)

  • Wayne LeBlanc

    This new transmission infrastructure will be able to move not only wind power but any renewable power such as solar to the demand area. Texas has tremendous solar resources and they can augment wind in the same geographical area and produce peak power to compliment the night power of wind.

  • wade

    at the cost of $4.00 per month for God known’s how long on everyone’s bill. T. Boone not doing this out of goodness of his wallet, he not going to spend his own money to make. he’s F@##ing every electric user in Texas

  • wade

    at the cost of $4.00 per month for God known’s how long on everyone’s bill. T. Boone not doing this out of goodness of his wallet, he not going to spend his own money to make. he’s F@##ing every electric user in Texas

  • Wayne LeBlanc

    This new transmission infrastructure will be able to move not only wind power but any renewable power such as solar to the demand area. Texas has tremendous solar resources and they can augment wind in the same geographical area and produce peak power to compliment the night power of wind.

  • UL

    not only it will reduce pollution but also unwanted bird population..yay!

  • UL

    not only it will reduce pollution but also unwanted bird population..yay!

  • larryhagedon

    It all adds up. Wind power is one more chunk bitten out of the oil monopoly. Go Texas.

    I am also proud of Iowas contribution. We have 4 companies making wind power components and a lot of windmills at work.

    larryhagedon

    American Flex Fuel Experience.

    AmericanFFE-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

  • larryhagedon

    It all adds up. Wind power is one more chunk bitten out of the oil monopoly. Go Texas.

    I am also proud of Iowas contribution. We have 4 companies making wind power components and a lot of windmills at work.

    larryhagedon

    American Flex Fuel Experience.

    AmericanFFE-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

  • pktexas

    TBone will use imminent domain to acquire the right-of-way to transmit the power. Unfortunate but somewhat necessary to take advantage of renewable resource. He will also use the right-of-way to build his pipeline to sell water from the Ogallala Aquifer. This is a project he has been working on for over a decade and sunk billions into. No one is sure of the environmental impact, but this is more than a happy coincidence. He is definitely not an altruistic investor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

  • pktexas

    TBone will use imminent domain to acquire the right-of-way to transmit the power. Unfortunate but somewhat necessary to take advantage of renewable resource. He will also use the right-of-way to build his pipeline to sell water from the Ogallala Aquifer. This is a project he has been working on for over a decade and sunk billions into. No one is sure of the environmental impact, but this is more than a happy coincidence. He is definitely not an altruistic investor.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogallala_Aquifer

  • zoref

    About time

  • Raf

    Y’all haters. Think you’re so much more dignified than us Texans, it’s quite infuriating when I see people act surprised when Texas does something smart, and really good for the environment. You probably have never been to Texas, I’m sure you get your info from tv. No, we don’t ride horses to work or live on dude ranches. I live in Dallas, a beneficiary of this wind deal, and I can’t wait.

  • Raf

    Y’all haters. Think you’re so much more dignified than us Texans, it’s quite infuriating when I see people act surprised when Texas does something smart, and really good for the environment. You probably have never been to Texas, I’m sure you get your info from tv. No, we don’t ride horses to work or live on dude ranches. I live in Dallas, a beneficiary of this wind deal, and I can’t wait.

  • http://www.digitalovercast.com Ken

    Texas should be given an environmental award that is hand delivered by Al Gore. I hope other 49 states follow Texas. I am disappointed in California for not being more aggressive in pushing renewable energy. If not wind at least solar.

  • http://www.digitalovercast.com Ken

    Texas should be given an environmental award that is hand delivered by Al Gore. I hope other 49 states follow Texas. I am disappointed in California for not being more aggressive in pushing renewable energy. If not wind at least solar.

  • Ivan

    Yeah, Texas! Y’all follow, we lead!

  • Ivan

    Yeah, Texas! Y’all follow, we lead!

  • Brent

    I work at a car dealership that runs between Dallas and Houston near Houston on the Interstate. And saw about 30 18 wheelers driving north towards Dallas carrying the pieces to these. These wind turbines are massive..

  • Brent

    I work at a car dealership that runs between Dallas and Houston near Houston on the Interstate. And saw about 30 18 wheelers driving north towards Dallas carrying the pieces to these. These wind turbines are massive..

  • JIm Jones

    Wind Power ROCKS! I lived on a sailboat for years and relied heavily on Wind Generators to keep my batteries fresh!

    JT

    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  • JIm Jones

    Wind Power ROCKS! I lived on a sailboat for years and relied heavily on Wind Generators to keep my batteries fresh!

    JT

    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  • RickR

    Who cares who has what!!! I am just happy that the infrastructure is being put in place in serious amounts. It has to start somewhere, let us just hope that it catches on and spreads!

  • RickR

    Who cares who has what!!! I am just happy that the infrastructure is being put in place in serious amounts. It has to start somewhere, let us just hope that it catches on and spreads!

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  • zoref

    About time

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  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    Well, glad to hear it! I guess I should have a little more faith in the Green State :)

  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    Well, glad to hear it! I guess I should have a little more faith in the Green State :)

  • http://zeeol.com/Blog zeeol

    yeh, the wind energy maybe very popular in the future. There are many in Germany since years.

  • http://zeeol.com/Blog zeeol

    yeh, the wind energy maybe very popular in the future. There are many in Germany since years.

  • Chris V

    I thought capitalism was big in Texas. Who’s going to own and take the profits from these power lines that the state is paying for? For some reason, I don’t think it’s going to be the state of Texas.

  • Chris V

    I thought capitalism was big in Texas. Who’s going to own and take the profits from these power lines that the state is paying for? For some reason, I don’t think it’s going to be the state of Texas.

  • rich williams

    Tim, you spoke to soon Oregon is getting ready to build the world’s biggest wind farm of 909 megawatts it will be second after T. Boone Pickens gets his built.

    http://www.koin.com/content/news/topstor

  • rich williams

    Tim, you spoke to soon Oregon is getting ready to build the world’s biggest wind farm of 909 megawatts it will be second after T. Boone Pickens gets his built.

    http://www.koin.com/content/news/topstor

  • http://iran-pol6.persianblog.ir/ جک و اس ام اس

    very good

  • http://iran-pol6.persianblog.ir/ جک و اس ام اس

    very good

  • kevin

    texas has long led the nation in the production of wind energy. wind is not the solution– it’s going to be a disaster to transmit all that energy to the cities.

  • kevin

    texas has long led the nation in the production of wind energy. wind is not the solution– it’s going to be a disaster to transmit all that energy to the cities.

  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    Good for Texas. I wish that other states would follow this example. For instance, my home state of Oregon prides itself in being very “green” yet our offshore wind generating capacities are vastly underdeveloped:

    http://www.brightfuture.us/new/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=149&Itemid=27

  • http://www.brightfuture.us Tim

    Good for Texas. I wish that other states would follow this example. For instance, my home state of Oregon prides itself in being very “green” yet our offshore wind generating capacities are vastly underdeveloped:

    http://www.brightfuture.us/new/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=149&Itemid=27

  • Dan

    Wow, Zach, a little sensitive there? :)

    This is a great idea, I hope it comes to fruition and really provides the benefits they’re going for.

  • Dan

    Wow, Zach, a little sensitive there? :)

    This is a great idea, I hope it comes to fruition and really provides the benefits they’re going for.

  • Gustavion

    Great to hear! Is this part of Pickens plan? It’s important for us, as individuals, to support businesses that not only provide a suitable utility but also benefit the environment. Another example, I came across a website http://www.simplestop.net that stops your postal junk and benefits the environment.

  • Gustavion

    Great to hear! Is this part of Pickens plan? It’s important for us, as individuals, to support businesses that not only provide a suitable utility but also benefit the environment. Another example, I came across a website http://www.simplestop.net that stops your postal junk and benefits the environment.

  • Zach

    BillC we’re the nationwide leader in wind power. So get off your high horse, take off your white wig, and stop judging us. You other states need to catch up.

  • Zach

    BillC we’re the nationwide leader in wind power. So get off your high horse, take off your white wig, and stop judging us. You other states need to catch up.

  • Bill C

    ! Oh my gosh!! Texas, using clean energy!? Never thought I’d see the day!

  • Bill C

    ! Oh my gosh!! Texas, using clean energy!? Never thought I’d see the day!

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