Texas is poised to receive its single largest solar facility which will be built by San Francisco firm, Recurrent Energy. The firm has collaborated with Austin energy to build 150 mega watt solar farm. The solar farm which is expected to be completed by 2016 will boosts Austin’s electricity power. This project will bring Austin a step closer to achieving its 2020 energy goal of getting 35 percent energy from renewable energy sources.
Both companies are tight-lipped as it relates to the cost of the project and the exact location of the solar farm. It was previously thought that the contract would be awarded to SunEdison who offered a bid of a $525 million contract that would last 25 years. Though this was thought to be a very cheap solar deal, the company was beat out by Recurrent Energy who Austin Energy said offered a better deal.
Electric companies in Texas are hoping that the recent bankruptcy of EFH, the parent company for TXU Energy, will cause customers to shop for other alternatives for their electricity. The restructuring of the parent company as part of the bankruptcy process should have no impact on the ongoing business of its component companies which include the retail electric provider TXU as well as the unit of the company that owns and operates power plans.
Still, TXU’s competitors in Texas are offering aggressive promotions in hope of winning over nervous customers. For example, Bounce Energy, Direct Energy, and First Choice Power are all currently offering $150 prepaid Visa cards to new customers who opt for their 12 month electricity plans.
Most of Texas is a deregulated electricity market. This means consumers are free to choose their providers. Austin, however, is not a deregulated electricity market.
Texas is poised to benefit immensely from the natural gas boom as a dredging process is currently under way which will see bigger ships docking in the Port of Houston. Demands for LNG in the U.S is relatively low and so drilling companies are seeking to convert the excess commodity into much needed income by exporting it. However, for this to happen, companies will have to receive permits from the Department of Energy.
Former import terminals are now being converted into export terminals in expectation of the permits for exporting the commodity on a wide scale. So far only five companies have received permits to export LNG. The granting of permits can take years and there are many more companies on the waiting list for approval. This means that the country is losing out on potential earnings during the lengthy approval process.
As the tide changes in Texas, alterations in the energy markets in the state do not appear to be happening any time soon. There are fears in the state over the supply of energy that is available.
However, the fears are only coming from proponents of the changes. Those who are opposed to the changes believe that the supply concerns are not as dramatic as once thought. This means that the state is going to wait on changing their energy markets. This shift in focus again makes one wonder if Texas will ever completely make a change to their energy market policies.
The next big crisis in demand will likely force the state to reevaluate their markets, but for the time being, the state is going to keep their markets operating as they always have. As long as people have energy and the whole state doesn’t lose power, the markets may never change.
Read more here: http://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/20140226-lights-dim-on-remaking-texas-electricity-market.ece
With the introduction of Eagle Ford Shale, the state of Texas has the largest oil and gas development in the world. With this infusion of energy from such a massive, and multi-county, project, the state seems to believe that energy output must trend up to meet demand.
The Eagle Ford Shale project is creating jobs and infusing money into the Texas economy through the introduction of the project as it spurns on other industries as well. The project impacted the Texas economy at the rate of $60 billion and 116,000 jobs.
The expected six percent growth from year to year in just the Eagle Ford Shale area shows that the state knows it must produce in order to keep up with demand. However, the project also means that the state will receive economic impact for decades to come as the state works hard to keep power supplies up.
The city of Austin has run into a bit of a problem with their solar energy rebate program. Austin Energy was required, through a tariff, to zero out all of the energy credits that were given last year. This means that about 300 customers without their credits for producing more solar energy than they used.
Now that the customers are upset about the loss of their credits, Austin Energy is hoping to win back the trust of customers by offering them rolling credits that they can build up throughout the year. While these credits do not give back the credits that the customers lost, Austin Energy is hoping that rolling credits will make customers happy enough to stick with the program.
The production of solar energy will continue while the company will give solar owners credit that can roll on and on for months and even years. This change in the program may make some upset, but at least Austin Energy is working with solar users as fairly as possible.
Solar energy could be at a turning point in Texas, where adoption of solar power has been slow compared to wind energy. In deregulated parts of the state like Dallas and Houston, providers such as Green Mountain energy are beginning to offer solar only electricity plans that allow consumers to use pure solar energy without putting panels on their rooftops.
The new farm to be called Spinning Spurs 3 will be built just next to Spinning Spurs 2 in Oldham County. While this new acquisition is a boon to wind power in the state, the farms will be selling to many different customers.
These three spinning spurs are selling in different places. The first will sell power to the Southwestern Public Service while the second will be selling on the spot market. The third spur will sell to Garland Power & Light and Georgetown Utility Systems. With these new investments, the hope is that Texas can keep up with energy demand even as the state goes through its coldest winters and hottest summers.
The use of alternative energy has spurred community support as these wind power options are much cleaner and safer than the coal-fired options all over the state. With this support, the wind power farms could send their electricity to large cities all over the state.
Texas power producers are working on a public proposal that would allow for an extra fee in Texas consumers’ energy bills to pay for extra power plants. In essence, this fee is to pay the companies based on how much electricity they could, in theory, produce rather than for just the actual electricity they sell to the grid.
While consumers will see this fee as something that is being paid because the power companies are not working at full speed, the power companies believe that they must have the fee in their coffers so that they can build power plants to meet the extra energy needs in the summer.
Power companies contend that the only way they can meet higher demands is to have this new fee and build more plants. Consumers and consumer watch groups believe that the citizens of Texas are adapting quite well to the power shortages in the state. More people are monitoring their energy use and conserving power as much as possible.
Perhaps it’s time for the power companies to look elsewhere for extra ready cash.