Tag Archives: West Texas

More Than 3,000 Texans Call on Reps. Canseco and Farenthold to Save Texas Wind Jobs

Contact: Dave Cortez, Texas BlueGreen Alliance
Davec@bluegreenalliance.org,  512-736-7600

More Than 3,000 Texans Call on
Reps. Canseco and Farenthold to Save Texas Wind  Jobs

Dave Cortez – Emcee, Coordinator at Texas BlueGreen Alliance
Jeff Clark – Executive Director, The Wind Coalition
Jeff Neves – Project Developer, American Shoreline Inc.

WHAT: Teleconference on benefits of wind production tax credit in Texas

WHEN: Thursday, October 11th, 11AM CT

CALL INFO: 1-866-501-6174
code: 317-0874-1892
*Spanish speakers available for quotes*

With help from the federal wind energy production tax credit, Texas has become a national leader in wind energy and wind jobs. The Production Tax Credit helps level the energy playing field between fossil fuels and renewables, and has been a key engine in the huge growth of the wind industry over the past decade. The wind industry currently supports more than 75,000 jobs across the country, including over 7,000 here in Texas.  If the PTC is not renewed by the end of the year, an estimated 37,000 jobs will be lost.

As a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report stated, “Current energy tax policy is the result of prior policy action undertaken in an effort to achieve the nation’s long-standing goal of enhancing U.S. energy security.  For example, the promotion of domestic fossil fuel production, the current principle short-run strategy, was a central tenet of energy tax policy from 1918 through the late 1960s” (Sherlock and Crandall-Hollick, September 2012).

In addition, U.S. government support for oil, natural gas, and coal has totaled over $500 billion from 1950 to 2006 according to Management Information Services Incorporated. Some of these incentives have been permanent fixtures of the tax code for decades, whereas the PTC has been periodically extended on a short-term basis since 1992.

List of key wind projects in CD 23
Anacacho Wind Farm (Near Uvalde)
Desert Sky Wind Project (CPS Energy purchases power from here)
Sherbino Wind Farms (BP owned)
Woodward Mountain Wind Ranch

List of key wind projects in CD 27
Palo Alto West Wind Farm (Proposed for construction in Nueces County, projected $3 million annual tax revenue)
Papalote Wind Farm (Near Taft, Texas)
Magic Valley Wind Farm (Willacy County)

South Texas wind farms awaiting fate of energy tax credit

AWEA Factsheet

Sweetwater Exposed in Negotiations to Sell Water to Tenaska

Things have been heating up in West Texas as Tenaska gets more and more desperate to find water to cool it’s proposed coal plant in Nolan County. Tenaska, in it’s increasingly desperate attempts to obtain water has been turning to back room deals and negotiations to try and cobble together the water needed for the plant.

These underhanded deals began earlier this year with the city of Stamford signing a water contract with Tenaska. The City of Stamford negotiated for over one year before it’s citizens even heard of the existence of this contract. Then when the existence of a contract did come to light, the City of Stamford rushed through a vote on the water contract within a period of a few weeks in an attempt to squash constituent feedback.

Sweetwater, a town that had abandoned negotiations with Tenaska in 2010, has now been back in talks with Tenaska to sell their water. This was beknownst to Sweetwater’s citizens until last month when the City finally released documents to the Sierra Club detailing these negotiations. These documents were only wrenched from the city’s hands after the Sierra Club submitted an open record’s request to the city.

The City of Sweetwater has been in negotiations with Tenaska for the past 7 months, without any public notice. Understandably, residents are outraged at the notion that Sweetwater officials have been bargaining away their water rights, without even consulting them. Selling such a precious public resource is not something that should be entered into lightly without public input, and that is exactly what the City of Sweetwater is doing.

The water in consideration is effluent, or “wastewater,” produced by the city. The term wastewater is misleading though, with many cities throughout Texas turning to wastewater as a way to meet water shortages during the drought. Effluent water can be used for irrigation in agriculture and sports fields. Some cities even utilize advanced filtration to circulate it with their drinking water. These are methods of usage that Sweetwater could potentially need to turn to in the future, should the drought continue or worsen. Economically, this potential deal is also bad news for Sweetwater residents, with Tenaska getting this water for pennies on the dollar compared to what local citizens pay.

Residents have a right to know why the City is considering selling water to a coal plant for dirt cheap, in a back room deal, during one of the worst droughts in history. Numerous brave residents did speak out at last week’s Sweetwater City Commission meeting, only to be ridiculed by City officials. The City of Sweetwater has accused groups such as the Sierra Club and Texans Against Tenaska of being conspirators about this water contract, but it is only because of the diligence of local citizens that these negotiations have come to light. This sort of attitude towards constituents is inappropriate and unacceptable. It is time that the City of Sweetwater come clean about its dealings with Tenaska and open up these contract negotiations for public input.

Austin City Council finally… officially.. adopts Austin Clean Energy Plan

After development of an affordability matrix this year, and after approval by the Electric Utility Commission, the Resource Management Committee, the Generation Task Force, and anyone else that mattered in 2010, and after initially approving it in April of 2010 — but requiring an affordability matrix — City Council finally took action.  The Lone Star Chapter and Austin Group of the Sierra Club commend the  Austin City Council  for finally — on a 7-0 — approving the Austin Energy Climate Protection and Generation Resource Plan for 2020 last week, which sets a goal of 35 percent renewable energy and 800 MWs of energy demand reduction through energy efficiency by 2020. The plan also commits Austin Energy to conducting several additional studies to look at developing further plans for energy efficiency, the development of onsite renewables and a specific look at how to get out of our addiction to coal at the Fayette Power Plant by 2020. Stay tuned as we pressure Austin Energy and City Council to also honor these committments.

And as the first step in the Clean Energy Plan, Austin Energy put out an RFP last week for 200 MWs of wind and/or solar to companies. A bunch of companies are already scrambling to put an RFP out there to Austin Energy. Most likely it will be wind from West Texas, but stay tuned..

Cyrus Reed, Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter

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The Future of Abilene’s Water

polluted water ABILENE- Did you know that coal-fired power plants are one of the largest users of water for energy?  According to Matthew Tresaugue of the Houston Chronicle, coal-fired power plants suck up over 150 billion gallons of water each year in Texas alone.  That’s enough water for over 3 million people!  Out in west Texas, water is a precious commodity.  Out in West Texas the proposed Tenaska plant is attempting to find ways to use the community’s precious, scarce water reserves.  Not only that, but in an attempt to make their dirty coal a little bit less dirty, Tenaska’s coal plant will install scrubbers attached to the smoke stacks.  Now, this might seem like a great idea at first, but these scrubbers use copious amounts of water in order to clean the smoke stacks.  The problem, in addition to the even greater consumption of water, is that once the scrubbers have “cleaned” the smoke stacks, all of the water is released right back into the environment.  According to the New York Times, this tainted water contains hazardous chemicals like lead and arsenic, which are not prohibited by the Clean Water Act when coming from Coal waste. Imagine having your drinking water poisoned with arsenic or lead!  If Tenaska is granted a permit, toxic water could be a reality for the city of Abilene, that is, if the plant leaves them any water at all.

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