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Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 1:06 AM

Texas holds a unique distinction in our country when it comes to electricity production.

Specifically wind generation.

This Could Only Happen in Texas: The Price of Electricity Went Negative


Is this a good thing for the rest of us?
Does Texas really deserve what makes it possible?

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#1

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 1:41 AM

You forgot to mention the most important piece of information contained in this article, namely the $23 per MWhr Federal Production Credit. So even though it appears that the producers were "losing" $8.31 per MWhr by paying the state's grid to take it, they were still collecting the net of $23 - 8.52 or $14.48 per MWhr "given" away.

And who do you think it "costs" for this giveaway that only benefits Texas utility customers? Everybody else in the remaining 49 states, and that $23 per MWhr is a guarantee to the wind power producers...remember that when you pay your Federal taxes.

And no, i don't wish to get into a discussion about the fact that there are offsets in the amount of fossil fuel burned and carbon credits that benefit future generations, etc.; I'm just pointing out that the apparent benefits to one group come at a cost to another, or as we all know, TANSTAAFL...

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 5:54 AM

Exactly!

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 6:50 AM

I assumed that you would read the piece yourself, which states:

" And that means that even if wind operators give the power away or offer the system money to take it, they still receive a tax credit equal to $23 per megawatt-hour."

And, the questions I posed: "Is this a good thing for the rest of us? Does Texas really deserve what makes it possible?" were intended to invoke some thought on the readers part.

Don't shoot the messenger.

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#10
In reply to #1

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 10:11 AM

When the payee and the benefactor get separated, the cost feedback which should drive the system to greater efficiency is lost. It's like removing the feedback resistor from an op-amp.

(Who cares what it really costs if someone else is payin'.)

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 10:14 AM

Your tax dollars at work.

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#16
In reply to #1

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/25/2015 3:52 PM

As I understand it, 2015 is the final year of the FPC payments to producers. I have noticed construction seems to have slowed, but I am not all sure about this - it is hearsay.

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#4

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 7:27 AM

Once a turbine is up and running, the wind is free.

No it is not. You still have to maintain the unit. Wind may be free, but there is still an operating cost as well as a replacement cost. The poles are made from A572-65 with a charpy test, projected life span is around 20 years.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 8:09 AM

Not to mention the land it leases where these turbines sit on, these bring in anywhere from $4,500.00-$6,000.00 per unit, per year.

Wind is free, that is the hook that narrow minds fall for.

One thing about Texas it that its always windy on the high plains with it coming off the gulf. And that makes Texas unique.

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#12
In reply to #5

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 10:34 AM

Yep! Texas has been known for producing & having an excessive amount of hot air for a very long time now.

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/25/2015 3:54 PM

Mostly due to the Westerly breeze headed our way from Arizona.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/25/2015 3:57 PM

Hey,

I'm down in a valley.

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#6

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 9:11 AM

I did some work at Nichols Station in Amarillo TX. A gas fired 3 boiler plant that has 2 120MW and one 250MW turbines. Xcel Energy which reaches from below Lubbock to way up north past Colorado (can't recall northern limit) can and does connect it's grid to other states. They monitor the grid to know if they are sending or receiving across the boundaries. They try to balance it out but if at settling up time the difference is paid.

Even Islands have connections to the continents.

Drew K

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#24
In reply to #6

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/29/2015 4:00 PM

As I recall from learning about our supposed changeover to ERCOT, we will have to go black on the SPP grid, then re-sync with ERCOT in order to draw power, then we will have to sync up whatever generation is called for on our part. Billing is but minutia compared to a national grid that was supposedly going to have a "super-node" at Portales, NM for the primary hub for wheeling power across a continent. Not sure how that has progressed...anyone??

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/29/2015 6:02 PM

Can you say Tres Amigas amigo?

$1.65B Deal Could Make Clovis, N.M., Hub of Nation's Power

Tres Amigas SuperStation Electric Grid Project To Locate ...

It seems to be stalled due to lack of funding since it generates no power.

It's a good deal for Clovis because the city will incur no financial risk.

Time will tell.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/30/2015 8:34 AM

Clovis and many of the rural towns all across that region are very corrupt. I knew some U.S. Air Force Officers who were stationed there and they talked to me about a group of 50 influential people that ran that town. Nothing happened without their approval, and they were rumored to have friends in higher politics. They claimed responsibility for keeping the U.S. Air Force base from closing there. I stopped by there for a weekend when my mates offered to take me to see Billy the Kid's grave in Fort Sumner. My friends pointed out graffiti for MS13 and talked about gangs and how much drugs passed through there. And worst of all...the landscape is every shade of brown you could want, it rains mud and the wind makes your teeth crunch with grit.

Point is I wouldn't take a job there unless the pay was so incredible I could retire in a year (or less).

Drew K

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#30
In reply to #27

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/30/2015 9:18 AM

Except when it really does rain enough to make a bumper crop of wheat, and most of the wheat up there is irrigated well enough to produce, although that resource is tailing off.

I wanted to get water diverted from Denver, CO treated effluent discharge to the Platte River, but EPA has a stranglehold on that resource. If just the wasted water from Denver could be routed to West Texas (and perhaps Eastern New Mexico), there could be power generated at about 3-4 hydroelectric plants along the path where elevation has dropped by about 700 ft. There would be enough revenue generated to treat this water to any known standard (and Omaha drinks it already), not to mention additional revenue from enhanced agricultural production. I saw this years ago and a win-win-win, where all the players make money, but we can't do that here in the Estados Unidos.

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#34
In reply to #27

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

06/06/2016 2:26 PM

Clovis and Portales both are tied with with Democrat (NDP) politics of which one of my aunts used to be the "King" maker, as in Bruce King, former Gov.

She passed away this year, and I suppose I shall miss her charms, her wit, and will probably have no one left in the family to bum a smoke off of in the future.

That is just how things roll in Eastern N. M. - Same good ol' boy network as in West Texas, just slightly more inebriated.

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#7

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 9:13 AM

This is a good reason why we need a grid similar to our interstate system whereby power may be transmitted over long distances on HVDC lines to 'better paying' customers.

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#8

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 9:34 AM

This is a non-issue and is not new, it has happened many times because of the nature of Electrical usage and the method of generation, like wind and hydro and nuclear, when it's on, it's on....

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/09/solar-costs-and-grid-prices-on-a-collision-course/

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#9
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Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/24/2015 9:50 AM

"like wind and hydro and nuclear, when it's on, it's on...."

Until it is turned off. They are no different than any other generator in that regard.

You can turn any of them off. Some may take a little longer but........................

Sure, the wind still blows, the water is still there, and the rods stay hot, but they don't HAVE to generate power.

And RAM apparently thinks that only Texas gets that tax credit.

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#20
In reply to #9

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/26/2015 7:29 PM

Lyn, I stand corrected. Aside from getting involved with CR4 I believe that's my second or third factual error on this site . Interestingly one of them involved you when we were discussing the difference between AC/DC ratings for AC breakers.

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#21
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Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/26/2015 8:06 PM

We think alike.

There's no cure for CR4.

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#29
In reply to #21

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/30/2015 9:10 AM

Electrical engineering is a terminal disease.

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#13

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/25/2015 9:09 AM

My input on this complicated subject:

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#14

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/25/2015 10:43 AM

Previously I worked for a company that has a number of plants along the TX gulf coast. They will ramp plants up and down following the power price all day long and play the spot power market. They also have a relationship with ERCOT to manage power throughout the state. I doubt many consumers in Texas will see a huge difference in their bill; too much noise between the raw power price and the final small user.

The tax credit has pros and cons; just picture all the fossil fuel plants ramping to minimum around the state and still having to pay someone else to take power off of their hands because they can't sell it out of the state. I imagine most of the producers already have a stake in the wind farm business or will soon if it makes economic sense.

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#15

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/25/2015 3:51 PM

And the City of Lubbock announced just yesterday a deal in the works to get Lubbock Power and Light off the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and build a transmission line to the best available point of interconnection with ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas). This is a great big huge deal. What needs to happen is (1) desalination on a massive scale at the Gulf Coast, (2) pumps to take the negatively priced energy, or low demand energy and pump water (de-salted to eliminate pollution upon any leakage) up hill some 3300-3500 feet to the far corners of northwest Texas, and let the water return by way of some municipal and irrigation use, but could be mostly used as one very large pumped storage reservoir (if for example the entire Canadian river basin was dammed (not damned)).

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#19

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/26/2015 11:00 AM

What has not been mentioned in the above discussion is the increased operating costs in the existing power generation equipment when wind/solar generation is added to the system.

These increased costs are massive...

They are due to operating older generating equipment in a "load following" mode, where the electric power must be run up then down repeatedly while trying to balance demand with an ever changing supply.

It is the new arrogant psychotic MBA attitude that has put utilities in this quandary.

Of course, when things go wrong with these antiques, it is the plant engineers problem.

Older systems were originally designed for "baseload" (steady and slowly changing) operation only. Boilers, pumps steam turbines and generators are inefficient and break down much more frequently when operated up and down over and over.

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#22
In reply to #19

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/28/2015 8:16 AM

Nichols Station in Amarillo, I think unit one was first run in 1960? I have a picture of a scribble on the front of the turbine somewhere. It is a natural gas powered plant and does a lot of the load following, the operators were always running around adjusting this and that and watching the MW go up and down. Harrington, less than a mile away burns coal in 3 300 MW boilers and is usually base loaded as are some of the other plants. From what I saw of the others, the bigger ones that took a bit more effort to follow the load were base loaded and the gas plants like Nichols followed the load.

In the peak of summer, it seemed just about everyone was base loaded and spinning reserve was a fond wish. There were concerns about the aging fleet.

Drew K

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#28
In reply to #19

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/30/2015 9:09 AM

I could not agree more. As I see it, all of our older steam cycle equipment will phase out, so "we can conserve the city water supply". Never mind that we have begged and pleaded for treated effluent deal (just the same deal, no break) that the city made with Excel Jones Station a long, long time ago. Then "the powers that be (mostly clueless politicians)" want to whine about how much water we "waste". I have in good confidence that a new zero liquid discharge plan for cooling towers is soon to be available as the pilot run in Kansas was a complete success. There are even ways to make a power plant be a net producer of water based on natural gas generation, and recovery of water from stack gases, although it is not without a cost penalty. One can even install equipment on cooling towers that reclaims about 20% of evaporated water as "pure" condensate, big energy penalty still, but it is possible.

Not only that, there are designs for cooling towers that produce a stabilized vortex, that can generate extra power with small wind turbines around the lower periphery of the tower and proper ducting of air, can increase plant output by up to 30%!

When do we wise up, and spend some money to really get on the "efficiency" train, and also start producing at least some water resource (even if recovered from waste water) that people will not particularly flinch at if only used for irrigation, or total treatment during high demand for drinking water?

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#31
In reply to #28

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/30/2015 11:33 AM

They are strangling Tolk in Muleshoe. The water that plant uses in the cooling towers is very harsh before they send it out for evaporation. Look at it from google earth and you will see the evap ponds.

I know Nichols and Harrington use effluent in the cooling towers and they watch the water chemistry and when it is bad they send it to the ponds.

Given any other choice I would prefer not to drink treated effluent. It is not that I have a problem with drinking treated water, my problem is pharmaceuticals are not filtered out and people flush way too much and too much passes through people. I heard a story about those lizards that live in the water with gills until they are adults then they loose the gills and live on land. Well in effluent water they never leave the water.

Drew K

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#33
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Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

06/06/2016 2:18 PM

One gent I met that works over at Tolk wants to buy up Lubbock reclaimed wastewater (treated effluent), sell Lubbock all the well water from around Tolk Station, and they would use the effluent for cooling tower make up. I think it is an outstanding idea. Jones Station out east of Lubbock already is also on treated effluent for cooling water source.

I think it would be a great deal for CoL and for Xcel.

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#23

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/28/2015 4:45 PM

The article states that wind power produced in the U.S. receives "a federal production tax credit of 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour that applies to every kilowatt of power produced." That 2.3 cents is easier for the average consumer to understand than stating "$23 per magawatt hour" as our bills are listed in kilowatt. Even if you add that additional 2.3 cents per kWh to my bill, my electricity cost is still pretty damn cheap. It would be a lot more expensive if the state had to buy electricity from non-Texas grids.

Energy production is encouraged in Texas and there truly is a free market here. Texas is also the center for optimizing the wind energy production process including improvements in rotor design and turbine efficiency. The system works because the financials are, by law, transparent. Try getting the detailed energy production financials from states like California or Nevada.

Wind is the preferred alternate energy choice here in Texas because it has the most efficient ROI. This annoys manufacturers of solar power, which any first year engineering student will tell you is vastly more expensive as well as having an obviously unstable financial history despite huge federal subsidies being available. Yet rather than admit wind is a superior solution, they try to make a weak tie to politics. However, the laws of physics are not subject to political arguments or guilt trips. An independent company is free to set up a solar farm, yet despite generous solar federal subsidies it's still more expensive than wind.

That approach to ruthless efficiency in energy production helps to make Texas one of the most financially stable states in the USA.

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#25

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

09/29/2015 5:26 PM
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#32

Re: Texas, Unique in so Many Ways

06/03/2016 6:53 PM

Stop recirculating the NEWS!

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