Tribpedia: Energy

Tribpedia

Texas has long been a leader in the nation's energy industry. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Texas is the largest petroleum refiner in the U.S., and produces more than three times the natural gas than any other state. The Comptroller's Office reports tax revenues from energy production and use, particularly oil and gas, have ...

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Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.
Steam rises from the stacks at the Martin Lake Coal-Fired Power Plant in Tatum, TX March 30, 2011.

"Risks of Outages" Under EPA Rule, Texas Report Warns

The Environmental Protection Agency said Texas "has an ample range" of ways to comply with an impending pollution rule, after the state grid operator reported this morning that the rule would badly strain the electric system.

Cracks have formed in the asphalt on Bayou Wood Circle near County Road 687 south of Angleton, Texas Tuesday Aug, 2, 2011.
Cracks have formed in the asphalt on Bayou Wood Circle near County Road 687 south of Angleton, Texas Tuesday Aug, 2, 2011.

Drought Damages Texas Infrastructure

In West Texas, the main concern is water. In cities like Houston and Fort Worth, clay soil is drying up because of the blistering summer heat, bursting water pipelines, buckling house foundations and splitting asphalt roads. Across Texas, the cause of these spiraling problems is the same: a nine-month drought that shows no signs of relenting.

Aluminum tape covers the sensors being tested on a wind turbine in Bushland, Texas.
Aluminum tape covers the sensors being tested on a wind turbine in Bushland, Texas.

End of an Era for Panhandle Wind Program

As the Department of Agriculture focuses on biofuels, it is pulling out of wind and solar research. For the tiny Panhandle hamlet of Bushland, this means the end of a wind program that has operated for 35 years and helped get the Texas wind boom started. It is still doing pioneering work on blade sensors.

Thompson: Friend of the Underdog — and the Powerful

Rep. Senfronia Thompson’s almost 40-year House tenure is defined by her impassioned and effective defense of the underserved. But her legislative career is peppered with occasional paradoxes, from the campaign contributions she's received from strip club operators to the industry-friendly bills she has carried for energy giants.

EPA Chief, in Texas, Calls Pollution Rule "Not Onerous"

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, said during a visit to Austin on Wednesday that a pollution rule adopted this month that has infuriated many Texas officials will save lives and can be enacted "cheaply and efficiently." She pledged to reach out to the state's electric grid operator, which has expressed concerns over the potential shuttering of coal plants.

Two new reactors, shown at the upper left-hand corner of this artist's rendering, could be added to the Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Somervell County. Exelon is considering building a nuclear plant in Victoria County.
Two new reactors, shown at the upper left-hand corner of this artist's rendering, could be added to the Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Somervell County. Exelon is considering building a nuclear plant in Victoria County.

More Studies Approved for Proposed Nuclear Plant Site

Federal regulators have determined that safety and environmental claims need to be investigated more thoroughly before a site in Victoria County can be declared suitable for a potential nuclear power plant.

Director of Local Development Rikki Stanley at the site where White Stallion will build a coal fired power plant on the Colorado River near Bay City, Texas Monday, June 13, 2011.
Director of Local Development Rikki Stanley at the site where White Stallion will build a coal fired power plant on the Colorado River near Bay City, Texas Monday, June 13, 2011.

Audio: Water Needs of Proposed Coal Plant Spark Debate

Plans to build a coal plant called the White Stallion Energy Center near Bay City have stirred controversy, as residents near and far worry about air pollution and the huge amounts of water needed to operate the plant.

Robert Malina and Eva Malina have an anti coal sign at the entrance to their property and home near Bay City, Texas Monday, June 13, 2011 which is within sight of the planned White Stallion coal-fired power plant on the Colorado River.
Robert Malina and Eva Malina have an anti coal sign at the entrance to their property and home near Bay City, Texas Monday, June 13, 2011 which is within sight of the planned White Stallion coal-fired power plant on the Colorado River.

Proposed Coal Plant's Water Plan Stirs Debate

Plans to build a coal plant called White Stallion near Bay City have stirred considerable controversy around the Colorado River basin. Texas is more welcoming of new coal plants than many other states, but nonetheless, plenty of people worry about air pollution and the huge amounts of water needed to operate a power plant.

Rikki Stanley, director of local development for the White Stallion Energy Center, shows a chunk of the type of coal that the coal plant plans to burn.
Rikki Stanley, director of local development for the White Stallion Energy Center, shows a chunk of the type of coal that the coal plant plans to burn.

Water Deal for Texas Coal Plant Postponed

In a victory for environmental groups, the L.C.R.A. board decided on Tuesday to delay the decision on whether to grant a large water contract to the proposed White Stallion coal plant. The board heard testimony all morning, much of it from people living in the Colorado River basin who cited concerns about water availability and air pollution and urged further study of the contract. 

Texas Passes Bills Promoting Energy Efficiency

A handful of energy-saving measures passed the Legislature this session and await the governor's signature. They range from allowing churches access to an energy-efficiency loan program to recalibrating a statewide program for utilities. But efficiency advocates didn't win all their battles.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 5/30/11

Aaronson and Grissom on a freshman lawmaker who didn't mind making waves, Aguilar on E-Verify's new lease on life, Galbraith on the state's plodding progress toward solar power, Hamilton on Warren Chisum's exit, Philpott on the remapping of Lloyd Doggett's district, Ramsey on a proposed change to ethics laws for Texas pols, Ramshaw on efforts by the state to take control of Medicaid and Medicare, Root on why a Perry presidential bid shouldn't be underestimated, M. Smith on the unraveling of school finance legislation and Tan and Dehn on the highs and lows of the 82nd Legislative Session: The best of our best content from May 30 to June 3, 2011.

A number of homes an Austin's Mueller development have added solar panels, thanks to hefty local and federal incentives.
A number of homes an Austin's Mueller development have added solar panels, thanks to hefty local and federal incentives.

With Little Help, Texas' Solar Use Grows — Slowly

Renewable energy companies are looking to this big, sunny state as the next frontier for solar power, and local governments in San Antonio, Austin and a few other parts of Texas are offering generous incentives for rooftop panels. But can solar in Texas thrive without a statewide incentive, which the Legislature tabled this session because of cost concerns?

The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.
The Texas Capitol in the twilight of the 82nd legislative session.

20 Weeks in Texas in Which the Budget Held Sway

The 82nd Texas Legislature’s regular session ends as it started, with lawmakers arguing about a shrunken state budget and redistricting. With Republicans operating with a supermajority in the House and a commanding majority in the Senate, there was little doubt that the GOP would be able to impose its will. What was new was the power exerted by the Tea Party movement.

A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.
A worker untangles a hose at a Fountain Quail water management and treatment facility in Roanoake, Texas. Fountain Quail cleans and separates water used in fracking for natural gas removal.

Texas Senate Approves Fracking Disclosure Bill

After a lengthy discussion, the Texas Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday that would require drilling companies using hydraulic fracturing techniques to disclose the chemicals they use in the process on a public website.

Drilling Down on Fracking in Texas

A team of University of Texas researchers is about to study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the drilling technique that has environmental groups worried. Mose Buchele of KUT News talked with the man leading the study of one of the most controversial methods of harvesting energy in the world.

Texas Senate Hears Testimony on Fracking Disclosure

A Senate Committee heard testimony this morning from Halliburton and others on a bill that would require drilling companies to disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing. The bill has been left pending until the House takes a final vote on its version.

Is the Texas Legislature Raising Utility Rates?

Several bills working their way through the legislative process are likely to send Texans' utility bills up, consumer advocates say. But legislation that would make it easier for ratepayers to decide how to choose their electricity provider appears to be stalled.