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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ERCOT's Trip Doggett testifies at the joint Senate hearing on power outages on February 15, 2011
ERCOT's Trip Doggett testifies at the joint Senate hearing on power outages on February 15, 2011

Texas Blackouts Revive Deregulation Debate

The power failures earlier this month have called into question one of Texas' most basic tenets: that we do everything, including deregulation, better than anyone else.

CEO David Campbell of Luminant testifies on power plant outages before a Senate Committee on February 15, 2011
CEO David Campbell of Luminant testifies on power plant outages before a Senate Committee on February 15, 2011

Texas Power Companies Vow Post-Blackout Changes

As hearings continued this afternoon at the Capitol, power plant owners tried to explain why so many of their operations failed during the Feb. 2 rolling blackouts.

Cows graze near wind turbines at an Iberdrola Renewables wind farm along the Texas coast.
Cows graze near wind turbines at an Iberdrola Renewables wind farm along the Texas coast.

Texas Wind Power Grows Along the Gulf Coast

The vast majority of the state's wind turbines have gone up in West Texas. But several big wind farms have recently begun operating in the general vicinity of Corpus Christi, and more coastal projects are likely on the way — to the distress of bird-lovers and the military.

Texas Electric Grid Readies for More Record Demand

The state's electric grid operator has predicted record electricity demand Thursday morning, just over a week after cold weather led to rolling power outages across Texas. But as Matt Largey of KUT News reports, grid operators say this time will be different.

An electrical substation in Comfort, TX.
An electrical substation in Comfort, TX.

Electricity Price Cap in Question After Texas Blackouts

When blackouts rolled through the state last week, wholesale electricity rates skyrocketed to more than 50 times their normal price, finally hitting a set limit. But as Matt Largey of KUT News reports, the timing of changes to that limit is raising questions.

El Paso's Water Crisis Should Ease Soon

El Pasoans are not supposed to shower today. Or wash dishes, or do the laundry. The city is in the third day of a severe water shortage, which was partly caused by last week's rolling blackouts. Restrictions may be lifted tonight.

Why Texas Is Using More Coal, Wind and Less Gas

When Texans turn on lights or plug in iPads, they are getting an increasing amount of power from the wind — and from coal plants. Last year, nearly 8 percent of the power on the state's electric grid was generated by wind, far above the national average. And coal plants produced more power than any other electricity source. The big loser was natural gas.

Texas OKs New Wind Power Transmission Lines

At the heart of Texas' wind-power boom lies a conundrum: Plenty of ranchers are eager to host wind turbines but few want to allow the unsightly high-voltage transmission lines needed to carry the power to distant cities. But state regulators are moving forward — and yesterday they approved a contentious project that runs through the Hill Country.

New turbines tower over an old windmill at the Whirlwind wind
farm, near Floydada
New turbines tower over an old windmill at the Whirlwind wind farm, near Floydada

Share of Wind on Texas' Electric Grid Keeps Rising

Electricity use on the Texas grid rose by 3.5 percent in 2010, and wind turbines generated 7.8 percent of the power, according to figures released today by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator.

Denbury Resources began pumping carbon dioxide into this oilfield in Alvin, Texas, last week. The carbon dioxide is piped in from Mississippi and helps extract oil.
Denbury Resources began pumping carbon dioxide into this oilfield in Alvin, Texas, last week. The carbon dioxide is piped in from Mississippi and helps extract oil.

Aided by Oil, Carbon Capture Projects Advance in Texas

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In Texas, the largest oil producer in the United States, the demand for carbon dioxide is soaring, because it can help squeeze oil out of formations deep in the earth. That's why the idea of of capturing it and pumping it underground is gaining traction in the power sector. It sounds like an exercise in environmental idealism: Take the heat-trapping gas — belched prolifically from coal plants, which generate 45 percent of the nation’s electricity — and bury it, benefiting the atmosphere and combating global climate change. Of course, it is something of an environmental conundrum that stowing the greenhouse gas underground can also help to produce more fossil fuels.

Group Works to Ready Community for "Peak Oil"

Gas is hovering just under $3 per gallon in Austin, far short of the record $4.10 per gallon reached a couple of years ago. But as Matt Largey of KUT News reports, that's not stopping one group from creatively working to wean people off oil because they fear the world will eventually run out of it.

TribWeek: Top Texas News for the Week of 12/13/10

Ramsey on what a GOP supermajority means, Ramshaw on a crime victim not eligible for crime victims' compensation, M. Smith on grave matters and state regulation, Hamilton on the college pipeline at San Antonio's Jefferson High, Hu on a senator's anticlimactic return, Grissom on the coming closure of juvenile lockups, Aguilar on the return of residents to their drug-war-torn Mexican town, Galbraith on next session's energy agenda, Philpott on the legal fight over federal health care reform and Stiles on the travel expenses of House members: The best of our best from Dec. 13 to 17, 2010.

This woody debris will fuel a biomass power plant in Lufkin, the first of its kind in Texas, which is expected to begin full operations this spring.
This woody debris will fuel a biomass power plant in Lufkin, the first of its kind in Texas, which is expected to begin full operations this spring.

Biomass Power Plants Rise in East Texas

East Texas has none of the wind-power potential of West Texas. But it does have plenty of pine trees. And so, 40 miles apart, two first-of-their-kind power plants are going up near Lufkin and Nacogdoches. They will burn the woody debris to make steam, and that steam will turn generators to make electricity. But environmentalists, pulp mills and locals have concerns about the plants — which could also take an economic hit, because they are coming online during a slump in energy prices.