Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Texas: 1st In Wind Power / May Get New Coal Plant

The American Wind Energy Association is announcing today that Texas is the leading state in wind energy production. California has led the nation for the last 25 years, but this year Texas' wind energy production capacity went up 19%, making it the leader. Wind energy in Texas currently produces 2370 megawatts, or enough energy to power 600,000 homes.

The AWEA said four wind projects were built in Texas this year, and three more are under construction. The completed projects are in Taylor, Borden, Garza, and Scurry counties. Most Texas counties are pleased to get wind power projects, but not all. Many folks in Cooke County are opposing the plan to build a project near Muenster. They say it would change rural views and create an "industrial junkyard".

A wind-powered plant costs more to build per megawatt hour than coal or gas plants, but the fuel is free, so it costs much less to run the plants.

Coal-fired power plants are also making Texas news. The U.S. Department of Energy today picked 4 sites as finalists for building a $1 billion prototype of a clean-burning coal-fired power plant. Two of the finalists are in Texas, and the other two are in Illinois. The Texas sites picked as finalists are Odessa and Jewett. A final decision on a site is expected next year, and they hope to have the plant operating by 2012.

The 275 megawatt power plant will have technology that converts coal into enriched hydrogen gas, which burns cleaner than coal. They also plan to capture most of the carbon dioxide and "sequester" it permanently in underground reservoirs.

So far, Texas has spent $2 million choosing its sites. Texas has offered another $20 million to help with infrastructure or development.

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