UTILITY NEWS ROUND-UP

El Paso Times: El Paso Electric sale draws more opposition; utility, J.P. Morgan-tied buyer defend deal

Nov. 18 — The Texas Office of Public Utility Counsel, the state agency representing residential and small commercial electric consumers, concluded the sale as proposed is not in the public interest and should not be approved unless more conditions are added.

— El Paso Times

 

Houston Chronicle: Griddy CEO feels sick over big August bills but says price signals are future

Nov. 18 — The heat wave in August caused the wholesale electricity seller Griddy to lose customers when wholesale prices spiked but the episode taught the California-based company some important lessons about improving communications with customers.

— Houston Chronicle

 

The Motley Fool: NRG Benefiting From High Texas Power Prices

Nov. 16 — The power market operated by Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has experienced record demand for electricity based on growth in consumption, the retirement of roughly 4.7 GW of older power plants, and a lack of new power projects.The region’s reserve margin, or the difference between available generation capacity and forecasted peak demand, has steadily declined since 2015. ERCOT’s spring 2019 report showed the reserve margin at a historic low of only 7.4%.

— The Motley Fool

 

Houston Chronicle: We’re paying more for power. Will new power plants follow?

Nov. 15 — Texas electricity generators laid it out last year in stark terms for consumers, legislators and regulators: Texas was heading into summer with record tight power reserves. If electricity prices didn’t go up, power companies would have no incentive to build new plants or fix up old ones to avoid power shortages and accommodate the growing population.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Longview News-Journal (Opinion): Texas benefits from investing in safe pipelines

Nov. 16 — When I served as chairman of the Texas House Energy Resources Committee, we heard hundreds of hours of testimony on the need to increase our ability to safely and effectively move oil and gas from the Permian Basin, Eagle Ford and Barnett to our Gulf ports for export.

— Longview News-Journal

 

Utility Dive: Texas proposes smart meter cost recovery for El Paso Electric, Entergy Texas, boosting AMI

Nov.15 — The Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) on Thursday authorized publication of a proposed rulemaking that would allow several utilities to recover the cost of smart meter deployments in rates, helping expand the rollout of advanced metering infrastructure.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: How does AI improve grid performance? No one fully understands and that’s limiting its use

Nov. 14 — With deployment of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and smart sensor-equipped hardware, system operators are capturing unprecedented levels of data. Cloud computing and massive computational capabilities are allowing data analytics to make these investments pay off for customers. But it may take machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to address new power grid complexities.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Energy secretary nominee distances himself from Ukraine scandal, pledges baseload power support

Nov. 15 — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee grilled Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the nominee to replace outgoing Secretary Rick Perry, about any potential ties to Ukraine as well as his commitment to baseload power at a Thursday confirmation hearing.

— Utility Dive

 

Reform Austin: Texas utility assistance plans don’t provide enough help

Nov. 13 — It’s safe to say that, at least in Texas, the summer of 2019 will be remembered for its “atomic heat lamp on burned flesh” ambience.
The relentless triple-digit temperatures cooked up copious servings of energy-draining days and heat-related illnesses.

— Reform Austin

 

Houston Chronicle: Happiness drivers utilities — and other companies — should pay attention to

Nov. 13 — Business customers are generally happier with their electric utility companies this year. reflecting the effort utilities have been making to keep their customers better informed by issuing alerts when the power is going off and when it’s coming back on.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas needs better management of small power sources

Nov. 13 — Electricity consumers in Texas could save nearly $5.5 billion over the next decade by using distributed energy resources such as solar energy, energy storage and electric vehicles to reduce the need for more expensive peak power generation and investments in transmission and distribution, according to a new study.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Hays Free Press: Kinder Morgan Pipeline opponents put Agencies on notice to comply with law or be sued

Nov. 13 — In one of the latest challenges to the 435-mile, 42-inch natural gas pipeline, which is planned to cross the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, the focus has turned to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Last month, the T.R.E.A.D. Coalition (Texas Real Estate Advocacy & Defense Coalition), along with the cities of Kyle, San Marcos and Austin, the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer.

— Hays Free Press

 

El Paso Times: J.P. Morgan Chase ties to El Paso Electric buyer draw concerns, questions

Nov. 12 — Will J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the world’s largest banks, have ultimate control of El Paso Electric if the utility’s pending $4.3 billion sale to the Infrastructure Investments Fund goes through? That’s what Tyson Slocum and others want to know. Slocum is Energy Program director for Public Citizen, a liberal, not-for-profit consumer watchdog organization based in Washington, D.C.

— El Paso Times

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas needs better management of small power sources

Nov. 13 — Electricity consumers in Texas could save nearly $5.5 billion over the next decade by using distributed energy resources such as solar energy, energy storage and electric vehicles to reduce the need for more expensive peak power generation and investments in transmission and distribution, according to a new study.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Palestine Herald-Press: Oncor program aims to lower energy bills

Oct. 12 — Owners of the Hampton Chase and Hampton Village worked with the Dallas-based Oncor and its multifamily HVAC program to replace older HVAC units with new, high-efficiency heat pump systems. Owners replaced 31 HVAC units at Hampton Chase and 18 units at Hampton Village.

— Palestine Herald-Press

 

Houston Chronicle: San Antonio becomes latest city considering anti-pipeline resolution

Nov. 12 — The San Antonio City Council is jumping into a contentious debate over state eminent domain laws and the environmental impact of the growing number of proposed pipelines to move crude oil and natural gas from the Permian Basin.

— Houston Chronicle

 

CBS Austin: Atmos Energy reports 99 gas leak repairs in Georgetown for first half of year

Nov, 12 — Atmos representatives say they successfully pumped gas from the soil and replaced pipelines affected by the incident. According to the company’s semi-annual report, crews discovered 99 leaks in Georgetown from January – June 2019. There were 28 gas leaks in Georgetown over the same time period last year.

— CBS Austin

 

Houston Business Journal: McDonald’s reaches agreement backing new wind farm, more news

Nov. 11 — McDonald’s has joined the fray of large corporations reaching agreements supporting renewable power sources in Texas.

— Houston Business Journal

 

San Antonio Express-News: Devon Energy one step away from capping blowout in DeWitt County

Nov. 12 — Oklahoma exploration and production Devon Energy is one step away from capping a blowout at a natural gas well that has prompted authorities to seal off thousands of acres of land near the Eagle Ford Shale towns of Yorktown and Nordheim.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: New wholesale power company launches in Texas

Nov. 11 — Residential consumers have another option to buy electricity at wholesale spot market prices.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Corrider News: ERCOT Analyzes Electric Supply For Upcoming Winter And Spring Seasons

Nov. 12 –The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve system-wide forecasted peak demand this winter and in spring 2020.

— Corridor News

 

Texas Public Radio: Texas Regulators Let Coal Companies Get Away With Substandard Cleanup, Contamination

Nov. 11 –The Railroad Commission oversees Texas’ coal mines and is tasked with enforcing industry standards including returning mined lands to their former state through a process called “reclamation.”

— Texas Public Radio

 

Dallas Morning News: Fracking may indeed be causing earthquakes in Texas, according to UT study

Nov. 11 — Now, a new study suggests for the first time that some Texas earthquakes — specifically, those in West Texas — may indeed be connected to hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting fluid, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure to release oil and gas.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Wildcatter billionaire not giving up Permian Basin without a fight

Nov. 10 — Wildcatter billionaire Autry Stephens is not ceding control of the Permian Basin to the oil majors without a fight. … So far this year, Endeavor has filed for 272 drilling permits — all of them in the Permian Basin.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: In search for cheaper, longer energy storage, mountain gravity could eventually top lithium-ion

Nov. 12 — The idea of gravity as a form of storage is an example of ongoing research into additional storage options beyond lithium-ion batteries. Despite large cost reductions over the past several years, some experts still view lithium-ion systems as not economically-efficient enough at scale to fully back up the amount of renewable energy expected to come onto the grid due to states’ long-term clean energy goals.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Simulated grid attacks prepped in US amid mounting cyber risks, shortage of security talent

Nov.12 — There is less information available about NERC’s fifth GridEx simulation, which does not publish scenarios in advance. The last event, in 2017, included more than 6,500 participants and 450 organizations comprising ​industry, law enforcement and government agencies. Past participants included utility companies, regional and federal governments, supply-chain stakeholders and critical infrastructure cross-sector partners.

— Utility Dive

 

San Antonio Express-News: Railroad Commission candidate to focus on flaring

Nov. 10 — Dallas resident Chrysta Castañeda visited Midland last week as part of her campaign for a seat on the Railroad Commission. The Democrat will be seeking the seat currently held by Ryan Sitton.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

RTO Insider: Hot Summer Yields Positive Earnings for CenterPoint

Nov. 10 — CenterPoint Energy’s third-quarter earnings surged more than 57% thanks to record electricity usage this summer, the company reported.

— RTO Insider

 

Utility Dive: First cyberattack on solar, wind assets revealed widespread grid weaknesses, analysts say

Nov. 4 — New details of a denial-of-service attack earlier this year show an energy sector with uneven security.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: FirstEnergy nears proposal to decouple Ohio utility revenues, electricity consumption: CEO

Nov. 5 — At least 32 states and Washington D.C. have adopted decoupling policies for electric or gas utilities, or both, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures

— Utility Dive

 

Brownwood Bulletin: Oncor helps 50 apartments in Brownwood get new heating/cooling systems

Nov. 7 — These programs are funded with a multimillion-dollar budget approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

— Brownwood Bulletin

 

Houston Chronicle: Hot summer boosts NRG, CenterPoint earnings

Nov. 7 — Extreme temperatures that resulted in record-high prices for electricity in the late summer boosted financial results for NRG Energy Inc., the largest electricity seller in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Energy Choice Matters: Proposed Broker Rules Omit Requirement that Brokers Disclose REP Compensation Amounts

Nov. 8 — Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed a draft proposal for publication governing the registration and regulation of electric brokers, and the draft omits a provision contained in an earlier strawman proposal that would have required brokers to disclose to customers the amount of compensation received by the broker.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

San Antonio Express-News Commentary: Pipelines key to domestic energy, national security

Nov. 7 — But we need to be mindful that a lack of pipeline infrastructure can put a cap on the industry’s impact by making it more difficult for resources to make it to consumers, trading partners and manufacturers.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

El Paso Times: Proposed El Paso Electric sale has problems, consultant for Texas PUC finds

Nov. 6 –The proposed El Paso Electric sale to a J.P. Morgan Chase-advised investment fund is not in the public interest unless 80 conditions are made a requirement of the sale, a consultant for Texas regulators concluded.

— El Paso Times

 

Bluebonnet News: Sam Houston EC announces lowest power costs in eight years

Nov. 6 –Sam Houston Electric Cooperative consumer-members have been benefiting from reduced power costs in recent months. The Cooperative, serving more than 56,000 members throughout 10 counties in East Texas, is experiencing its lowest power costs in eight years.

— Bluebonnet News

 

Texas Climate News: After two years of effort, San Antonio finally has a climate action plan

Oct. 23 — It took two years, but the ideological tug-of-wars, copious input from business and community groups, and even rowdy street protests finally came down to the one thing that all sides had been awaiting: a vote on San Antonio’s climate action plan.

— Texas Climate News

 

Houston Chronicle: Thousands of acres sealed off following blowout at Eagle Ford Shale well

Nov. 5 — Thousands of acres of land remain sealed off days after a blowout at a natural gas well located belonging to Devon Energy between the Eagle Ford Shale towns of Yorktown and Nordheim.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Observer: The Long Battle to Stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

Nov. 5 — For months, locals and landowners have tried to stop the Permian Highway Pipeline, a piece of infrastructure connecting West Texas’ prolific oil fields to the state’s Gulf Coast refineries. But they’re running out of options.

— Texas Observer

 

Utility Dive: US power grid attack points surge with proliferating DERs

Nov. 4 — US power grid attack points surge with proliferating DERs: A hacker ‘will eventually get in’

— Utility Dive

 

E&E News: How 100% renewables backfired on a Texas town

Nov. 4 — Georgetown, whose green push gained global attention thanks to former Vice President Al Gore and others, can claim to have 100% renewable power thanks to a credit system tied to electricity purchases. In 2018, the city bought enough power from wind and solar projects to account for all of the community’s consumption. It also pays for power fueled by natural gas.

— E&E News

 

Texas Monitor: San Antonio’s climate plan is partly cloudy on details

Nov. 4 — San Antonio earlier this month joined Austin and two dozen other major American cities in adopting a climate action plan aimed at operating city government and city-owned utilities and transportation systems entirely without fossil fuels by 2050.

— Texas Monitor

 

Spectrum News: Dallas Attorney Chrysta Castañeda Looks to Unseat Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton

Nov. 4 — While it was originally established in 1891 to regulate the railroad industry, the Commission has since been given the responsibility for overseeing the oil and gas industry, pipelines and mining for coal and uranium.

— Spectrum News

 

Yahoo Finance: NW Natural Water Expands into Texas with Plans to Acquire Water Utility

Oct. 31 — The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and is expected to close in 2020. Upon closing outstanding transactions, NW Natural Water expects to have invested nearly $110 million in the water sector and serve 62,000 people through approximately 25,000 connections in the Pacific Northwest and Texas.

— Yahoo Finance

 

Houston Chronicle: The murky and confusing Texas electricity market

Nov. 1 — Texans have paid for this lack of transparency. For nearly two decades, consumers living within the competitive power markets of Texas — which cover about 85 percent of the state — have consistently paid higher prices for electricity than those buying electricity from regulated municipal utilities and cooperatives, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a group of cities that buy power in the deregulated market.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Wind spending shifts to maintenance/operations as federal tax credits expire

Oct. 31 — A surge in new wind farms before federal tax credits expire is expected to boost the amount of money that will be spent on wind power operations and maintenance, according to a new report.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: New West Texas solar farms generate jobs as well as power

Oct. 29 — “For hire” signs are popping up throughout the Permian Basin at a wide range of businesses.
As expected, many of those jobs are in the region’s oil and gas industry. But another form of energy is also in hiring mode.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: Residential solar not catching on in Houston like other cities

Oct .29 — Houston barely registers at No. 18 on the list, according to the study. Only .001 percent of Houstonians have solar panels on their roofs, reflecting the lack of state-wide incentives to install solar systems that California and other states offer to their residents.’

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Consumer electricity complaints up in Texas

Oct. 30 — Texans filed 5,508 electricity-related complaints or inquiries with the Public Utility Commission during this past year, a 2.6 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a group of cities that buy electricity in the deregulated market for governmental use.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News (Editorial): California’s energy nightmare shows us why Texas must trust the free market

Oct. 29 — Here is the difference between California and Texas: In California, even the public utility, funded by customer fees set by a government agency, can’t do its job. And in Texas, our trust in a free market system has served us well. Multiple emergencies, financial and weather, bear this out.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive (Opinion): Cities can lead the way for vehicle grid integration

Oct. 29 — EV power demands are highly flexible because EVs, like conventional vehicles, spend most of their life parked, and the energy for daily trips can be delivered within a few hours from a level 2 charger. The gap between the time it takes to get to a full state-of-charge and the estimated time of departure creates an opportunity that is often ignored. If optimized, the EV’s power demand could be timed to coincide with renewables generation or grid service markets like frequency regulation or voltage optimization.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Businesses get big break on electricity transmission fees while consumers pay more

Oct. 28 — As temperatures climbed into the triple digits this summer, big commercial and industrial companies shut down production lines, sent employees home and fired up backup generators. These moves, however, weren’t made to avoid the temporary spikes that sent wholesale electricity prices soaring to the maximum $9,000 per megawatt hour, but rather to cut their transmission costs throughout the year — and ultimately shift them to consumers and small businesses.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle [Opinion]: Fossil fuels without the dangerous emissions?

Oct. 27 — The energy industry is like a super-tanker. It is big, expensive, long-lived, and difficult to turn around.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Forbes: Is Bg Tech’s Renewable Energy Spend ‘Greenspinning’?

Oct .27 — To put it bluntly, the tech behemoths need all the good PR they can get. And it just so happens that committing to serious emissions curbs is one such reputational shot in the arm.

— Forbes

 

Midland Reporter Telegram: Energy regulators ponder future of industry they oversee

Oct. 24 — Addressing a breakfast gathering of the Permian Basin Petroleum Association’s Annual Meeting which traditionally features Texas and New Mexico regulators, he said that from Alaska to South Texas, it was believed there were 40 billion barrels of oil. Now, the U.S. Geological Survey says West Texas has another 48 billion barrels of oil yet to be tapped, he said.

— Midland Reporter Telegram

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Railroad Commissioner Craddick touts IT upgrades at agency

Oct. 24 — Much has changed about the Texas energy industry since Christi Craddick was elected to the Railroad Commission. “When I joined the commission” after her election in November 2012, “three-quarters of the drilling permits were for vertical wells. Today, three-quarters of the drilling permits are for horizontal wells. That’s how fast in seven years the industry has changed,” she said during a recent visit to Midland.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Mansfield homeowners are living the solar dream. Here’s how you can make the switch

Oct. 25 — Since then, they’ve paid $138 for electricity, all in the summer months. Compare that to the same period last year when they paid $574 without the solar panels.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

Platts: ERCOT stakeholders mull potential price corrections tied to software error

Oct. 23 — Electric Reliability Council of Texas stakeholders expressed concern Wednesday about the significance of price corrections being contemplated in relation to certain transmission outage errors committed by ERCOT for several days in September, which could affect settlements outside the ERCOT market.

— Platts

 

Chandler & Brownsboro Statesman: TCAP Selected by City

Oct. 23 — Council passed a resolution for the certificate of formation and bylaws of the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power (TCAP), accepting membership in TCAP, appointing Whitsell to serve on behalf of the city, authorizing TCAP to negotiate and electric supply agreement, and authorizing. This agreement helps the city get the lowest electric rates possible.

— Chandler & Brownsboro Statesman

 

Texas Observer: Landowners Got One Hill Country Oil Pipeline Moved. But Can They Do It Again?

Oct. 22 — Rule No. 1 of averting pipeline routes: Always bring a high-powered, politically connected oil and gas executive to the negotiating table.

— Texas Observer

 

Houston Chronicle: Industrial/commercial solar projects poised to grow; residential not so much

Oct. 22 — New solar installations are expected to make up more than half of the new supply of renewable energy coming on line during the next five years. But the gains will be uneven with commercial and industrial projects dominating residential installations.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Wells Fargo inks solar deal with NRG

Oct. 21 — Wells Fargo, the San Francisco-based bank, negotiated a 10-year renewable energy deal with Reliant Energy, the retail electric provider owned by Houston and New Jersey based NRG Energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Kinder Morgan pushes Permian Highway Pipeline in-service date to early 2021

Oct. 21 — Though Dang did not name any specific regulatory approvals causing delays, the 430-mile. $2 billion Permian Highway Pipeline—which is set to run through Hays County on its way from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast—is embroiled in several legal challenges over its route through the Hill Country.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG refreshes its board, adds two new independent members

Oct. 15 — NRG Energy said its board is adding two new independent directors as part of an effort to refresh the makeup of the board. The two new members replace one board member who is leaving at the end of the year and another who will not be up for re-election at next year’s annual meeting.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: New study blames some Permian Basin earthquakes on fracking

Oct 15 — In a study released Tuesday afternoon, scientists with the TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program reported that some earthquakes in Reeves, Pecos and Culberson counties may be caused by hydraulic fracturing, a process of injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground to unlock and oil natural gas reserves in shale geological formations.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Corridor News: San Marcos City Council To Hold Public Hearing Regarding Natural Gas Company

Oct. 15 — According to the agenda, the ordinance will grant SiEnergy, LP, the right, privilege and franchise to construct, install, extend, remove, replace, abandon, operate and maintain its facilities within the public rights-of-way of the City of San Marcos, Texas, for the transportation, delivery, sale and distribution of Natural Gas.

— Corridor News

CNN: Renewable energy is booming. But it’s not growing fast enough to fight climate change

Oct. 21 — The IEA warned that the expansion into renewables will still be “well short” of what’s required to meet aggressive goals aimed at fighting climate change and curbing air pollution.

— CNN

 

Associated Press: Unlikely alliance fighting pipeline in Texas Hill Country

Oct. 20 — One of the longest proposed new natural gas pipelines in the U.S. is set to run through Heath Frantzen’s property in the Texas Hill Country, where more than 600 white-tailed and trophy axis deer graze on a hunting ranch his family has owned for three generations.

— Associated Press

 

USA Today: As climate threat looms, Texas Republicans propose giant wind farms

Oct. 18 — The sprawling Roscoe Wind Complex stretches across four counties and 84,000 acres in West Texas — bigger than five Manhattan islands. Located about three hours west of Fort Worth, it’s comprised of 627 turbines that could generate up to 782 megawatts of electricity an hour, or enough to power 234,000 homes for a full year.

— USA Today

 

CBS DFW: New Area Code Proposed For Parts Of DFW Area

Oct. 18 — The Public Utility Commission of Texas announced Friday it is reviewing a petition by the North American Number Planning Administrator to add a new area code to accommodate continued growth in and around Dallas.

— CBS DFW

 

S&P Global Platts: Total solar expected to come online in ERCOT in 2020 falls by 1 GW

Oct. 18 — ERCOT’s Capacity Changes by Fuel Type Charts provides information about installed capacity, planned capacity for which financial security has been posted, and capacity with signed interconnection agreements but no financial security posted, for wind, solar, battery, natural gas combined-cycle and natural gas “other” projects through 2020, 2021 or 2022, depending on the type.

— S&P Platts

 

Dallas Morning News: Why your electric bill is going up and much more

Oct. 18 — Thanks to reader Andy Rosemore of Plano for the tip that Oncor, which delivers electricity for the electric company that serves you, raised its “Oncor fee” on your electric company’s bill from 3.135 cents per kilowatt hour to 3.8447 cents. That’s about a seven-tenths of a cent per kWh increase.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: As PPA price drops slow for wind and solar, developers see PJM, ERCOT as top markets

Oct 17 — PJM Interconnection reversed the prior downward price trend in solar as the only market to see solar prices rise this quarter, while also having the largest drop in wind prices ($2.88 or 9.3%) compared to the last quarter. PJM and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) continue to be “hot markets” for renewables developers, according to LevelTen’s vice president of developer relations, Rob Collier.

— Utility Dive

 

San Antonio Express News: Pipeline operator asking Texas regulator to rethink flaring decision

Oct. 17 — A first-of-its-kind dispute over whether an oil producer can burn off natural gas — even though a pipeline is available to transport the substance — is headed back to state regulators.

— San Antonio Express News

 

Associated Press: Renewable energy firm doubles down on western wind projects

Oct. 13 — A California-based renewable energy developer plans to increase by seven-fold its investments as it prepares to build more wind farms in New Mexico and West Texas over the next several years.

— Associated Press

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Chair Favors Dropping HAN Requirement From Smart Meter Rules

Oct. 11 — During today’s open meeting, DeAnn Walker, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas said that, as a starting point, she favors deleting the current home area network (HAN) requirements in the PUC’s advanced metering system (AMS) rules, but supports including a requirement in the rules for on-demand reads, with limits.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

CNN: Trump’s push to save coal is failing. Coal demand to plunge to 42-year low

Oct. 10 — Although Trump has tried to boost coal by slashing environmental regulations and installing a former coal lobbyist to lead the EPA, coal keeps losing ground to cleaner and cheaper alternatives. Power companies are rapidly retiring coal-fired power plants and replacing them with dirt-cheap natural gas and increasingly affordable renewable energy.

— CNN

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Chisholm Trail Special Utility District dissolved

Oct. 10 — Facing challenges with water availability and financing, the district approached the city of Georgetown in 2011 about the possibility of merging the Chisholm Trail SUD and the Georgetown Utility Systems, the release said. After two years of feasibility studies, public meetings and hearings, the board voted unanimously in 2013 to consolidate the two water systems, it said.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

E&E News: Texas commissioners scale back gathering line proposal

Oct. 10 — The Texas Railroad Commission replaced the specific rules with a vaguer requirement to operate the lines in a “reasonably prudent manner.”

— E&E News

 

Beaumont Enterprise: Port Arthur well prompts jobs, environmental questions

Oct. 9 — The unanimous approval of a new oil or gas well to be drilled in Port Arthur has raised questions from some residents who want the city to take a closer look at such projects and their potential environmental and economical impacts.

— Beaumont Enterprise

 

Hays Free Press: City of Kyle reaches settlement agreement with Kinder Morgan

Oct. 9 — Energy giant Kinder Morgan posted second-quarter profits earlier this year that surpassed the operating budget of the city of Kyle over the course of the past decade.

— Hays Free Press

 

Houston Chronicle: More solar means more maintenance costs, study finds

Oct. 9 — The annual cost of operating and maintaining solar energy plants is expected to double in five years, reflecting an increase in future demand while maintaining current installed capacity.

— Houston Chronicle

 

S&P Platts: Demand response helped ensure grid reliability in ERCOT this summer

Oct. 8 — Demand response resources made a big reliability difference in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas during the mid-August heat wave that resulted in an all-time record peakload, two Energy Emergency Alerts and $9,000/MWh real-time prices, ERCOT board members learned Tuesday.

— S&P Platts

 

Utility Dive: PG&E loses exclusive control of bankruptcy, shuts off power to 800K

Oct.10 — The massive power shutoff has prompted “outrage,” but the PSPS program is part of the utility’s state-approved wildfire mitigation plan.

— Utility Dive

 

Dallas Morning News: The first Barnett Shale gas well, the one that ignited the revolution, remains standing

Oct. 6 — The C. W. Slay #1 juts upward through sparse, open prairie, surrounded by a chain-link fence. The wellhead itself is only about 6 inches in diameter, capped by a steel valve painted a drab gray green and faded from years of scorching North Texas sunshine. Far to the southeast, barely visible on the horizon, are the skyscrapers of downtown Fort Worth.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Farley Street in Hutto reopened following Atmos Energy repairs

Oct 6 — Farley Street is now reopened in Hutto following repairs made by Atmos Energy over a possible gas leak between East and Main streets, the city confirmed on its website Sunday afternoon. Atmos began investigating the possible leak Friday afternoon, leading to the city taking precautionary measures and closing thru traffic on Farley Street.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

KRGV: ERCOT Officials Report Power Trips Across the Valley

Oct. 6 — Officials with the Electric Reliability County of Texas say the North Edinburg and Duke plants suffered a power trip Sunday afternoon. ERCOT officials confirmed trip with Magic Valley Electric Cooperative.

— KRGV

 

S&P Global: 3,204 MW of solar, gas canceled in ERCOT, but 284 MW OK’d for operation

Oct. 4 — Generation developers canceled 15 projects totaling 3,204 MW of capacity in September, a new Electric Reliability Council of Texas Generation Interconnection Status report shows, but a 100-MW natural gas plant and a 184-MW wind farm were approved for commercial operation.

— S&P Global

 

Bloomberg: Rick Perry’s Likely Successor Wants to Rescue Coal Plants Too

Oct. 4 — Perry told confidants in recent days that he plans to resign from the Trump administration by the end of the year, according to two people familiar with the matter.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Markets can help fight climate change

Oct. 4 — Two decades ago, Texas joined other states to impose renewable energy targets. The goals were modest and by 2009, Texas had already exceeded its 2025 goal of 10,000 megawatts of new renewable power, reflecting generous federal wind and solar tax credits and population growth that encouraged more overall generation.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Nearly half of world’s power will come from wind, solar and water in 30 years

Oct. 3 — In three decades, renewable energy sources are expected to provide nearly half the world’s supply of electricity, up from the current rate of 28 percent.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Plano’s 911 call center suffered outage from provider network issue

Sept. 26 — People who called 911 in Plano on Monday may have been redirected to a call center in Richardson during a brief outage in the city’s 911 call center. Plano’s 911 and administrative lines went down at 2:49 p.m., but were brought back online at 5:15 p.m. During that time, calls were forwarded to Richardson’s call center. Several Plano employees went to Richardson to help with calls.

— Dallas Morning News

 

E&E News: Blackouts are on the rise. So Austin is making a ‘microgrid’

Oct. 3 — The most ambitious effort would give control to a local utility to make a rapid grid reconfiguration at the onset of a blackout. It will attempt to collect and distribute enough renewable energy to support an “island,” or smaller area of the grid that can quickly repower hospitals, police and fire stations, and other emergency centers.

— E&E News

 

Houston Chronicle: Methane emissions to be measured in Permian Basin

Oct. 3 — An environmental advocacy group announced it will launch a new effort in the Permian Basin to measure emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas released during natural gas production and linked to global warming.

— Houston Chronicle

Utility Dive: ERCOT weathers steamy August, but could Texas become a winter-peaking system?

Oct. 3 — The Texas electric grid faced tight reserve margins heading into this summer, but new data shows it weathered the season with no blackouts or brownouts, and only two calls for conservation.

— Utility Dive

 

UPI: Major Texas solar project underway to add relief for overloaded grid

Oct. 2 — Wind power production is setting records in Texas, but an energy revolution is expected from a project to develop utility-scale solar electricity that will help double the state’s sun-harnessing capabilities over the next two years and ease demands on an often-overloaded power grid.

— UPI

 

Power Magazine: EIA: Renewables Will Account for Half of Global Power Generation by 2050

Oct. 2 — Solar power is expected to take a larger share of global power generation across the next 30 years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), as renewable energy continues to be adopted worldwide.

— Power Magazine

 

Utility Dive: 3 state commissions upending the way utilities do business

Oct. 2 — In conventional adversarial cases, utilities and consumer advocates debate a utility proposal’s merits, which “protects rights and ensures transparency,” said Tawney. But it does not produce “a record of testimony” from private sector, environmental and low income representatives “that shows the need for innovative approaches.”

— Utility Dive

 

NPR: How Big Oil Of The Past Helped Launch The Solar Industry Of Today

Sept. 30 — Over the next couple of years, Exxon Mobil will begin purchasing wind and solar power in West Texas, part of a 12-year agreement signed late last year with the Danish energy company Orsted. The plan is to use cheap, clean electricity to power Exxon Mobil’s expanding operations in the Permian Basin, one of the world’s most productive oil fields.

— National Public Radio

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas REP Asks That Brokers Disclose Where Services Offered

Oct. 2 — In comments filed with the Texas PUC on a strawman rule to adopt regulations for electric brokers, Young Energy, LLC recommended that brokers, “be required to disclose the websites through which they advertise or describe electric services.”

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Houston Chronicle (Opinion): The competitive Texas electric grid proves critics wrong again

Oct. 2– Critics of Texas’ wholesale electricity market began the summer, as they did in 2018, fear-mongering about brownouts and blackouts. The problem, they claim, is that the primary grid operator only pays generators for the electricity they consume, does not pay for back-up generation, and relies on federal tax credits to over-build wind power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

CBS 7: Railroad Commission of Texas launches interactive maps of oil & gas production

Oct. 1 — The Railroad Commission of Texas has launched interactive data maps showing oil and gas production and the locations of abandoned wells across the state.

— CBS 7

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas wakes up to series of earthquakes

Oct. 1 — From the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to the edge of the Panhandle, the Lone Star State woke up to a series of three earthquakes.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: 4.0-magnitude earthquake hits edge of Texas Panhandle

Sept. 30 — A 4.0-magnitude earthquake hit the edge of the Texas Pandhandle on Monday afternoon.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Associated Press: President’s windmill hatred is a worry for booming industry

Sept. 30 — Land-based turbines are rising by the thousands across America, from the remote Texas plains to farm towns of Iowa. And the U.S. wind boom now is expanding offshore, with big corporations planning $70 billion in investment for the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind farms.

— Associated Press

 

Uvalde Leader-News: Pipeline talk stirs aquifer worry

Sept. 29 — The first item is a proposed 83-mile pipeline intended to transport water for sale out of Del Rio to the Bexar County area. The second is a 30-inch crude oil pipeline proposed by a Houston company intended to stretch approximately 350 miles across the aquifer recharge zone.

— Uvalde Leader-News

 

Valley Morning Star: Utility threatens to cut off Valle Vista’s electricity

Sept. 27 — The posting to Valle Vista Mall Realty Holdings LLC by Reliant Energy, required under the rules of the Texas Public Utility Commission, reads: “Electric service to this establishment is scheduled for disconnection on 09/30/2019 due to non-payment.”

— Valley Morning Star

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Railroad Commission exceeds well-plugging goal

Sept. 26 — The Railroad Commission is marking the completion of an aggressive effort to increase the number of abandoned wells it plugs each year, far exceeding the goal set by the Texas Legislature.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Power: NRG Aligns Carbon Goals with 1.5-Degree-C Climate Trajectory

Sept. 26 — The Princeton, New Jersey-based energy company on Sept. 24 said it would accelerate carbon goals it set in 2014 to reach its 50% GHG reduction target (from a 2014 baseline) by 2025—not 2030 as originally envisioned—because it has already achieved a 37% reduction to date. NRG said it would also seek to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, surpassing its original 2014-set goal of a 90% reduction.

— Power

 

E&E News: EPA about-face lets emissions soar at some coal plants

Sept. 26 — While there were fewer operating coal-fired power plants, they often spewed more sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, according to recently released EPA data. Even as overall emissions of those pollutants fell across the country, releases from some large plants soared.

— E&E News

 

Houston Business Journal: Microsoft to buy power from French co.’s solar, wind energy projects in Texas

Sept. 26 — Microsoft is the latest major corporation to ink a power purchase agreement from wind and solar farms in Texas.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Retail Energy X: Texas Coalition For Affordable Power Releases Updated Report On History Of Texas Electric Choice

Sept. 26 — The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power has released an updated version of its report, Electric Deregulation in Texas: A Market Chronicle, which examines the history of Texas electric restructuring to date.

— Retail Energy X

 

Yahoo Finance: New Report from Texas Coalition for Affordable Power Marks 20th Anniversary of Electric Deregulation Law

Sept. 26 — In commemoration of that anniversary, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power has released an updated version of its signature report, Electric Deregulation in Texas: A Market Chronicle. The book, organized chronologically in a year-by-year fashion, is available through free digital download.

— Yahoo Finance

 

San Antonio Express-News: Rooftop solar can help Texas beat the heat

Sept. 24 — The whistle blows for halftime. Thousands of hungry, thirsty fans head for the concession stands. This rush creates a line that reduces the likelihood they’ll see the start of the second half.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG to step up emissions reduction goals to match IPCC recommendations

Sept. 24 — NRG Energy Inc., a Fortune 500 power company and the largest electricity seller in Texas, said it will accelerate its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and expects to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the company announced Tuesday.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Colleyville approve settlement with Atmos Energy for new gas utility rates

Sept. 23 — The settlement was between the Atmos Mid-Texas Division and a coalition of cities the gas distributor serves. This coalition is known as the Atmos Cities Steering Committee—of which Grapevine and Southlake are also members, according to the committee’s website.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Texas spent millions closing abandoned wells during recent fiscal year

Sept. 23 — The Railroad Commission of Texas shuttered 1,700 abandoned oil and gas wells over the past year, up from 1,300 over the same period last year, the Railroad Commission reported Friday.

— San Antonio Business-Journal

 

GreenTech Media: ERCOT’s Wild Summer Is Over. Solar Looks Like the Winner

Sept. 24 — Texas’ power grid danced near the supply-demand edge this summer. Experts weigh in on what it means for renewables.

— GreenTech Media

 

San Antonio Express-News: UTSA researchers provide actionable data to support city climate plan

Sept. 22 — Evidence of climate change is clear. Around the world, sea levels are rising, hurricanes are stronger and temperatures are more intense. Bold leadership is needed at every level to address this global challenge.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Plano seeks new water deal as costs surpass public safety

Sept. 20 — Plano City Attorney Paige Mims said in a Sept. 5 statement that Plano is participating in settlement discussions regarding its contract with the North Texas Municipal Water District, as are many other cities served by the district.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Wired: The Shift to Electric Vehicles Propels a Strike Against GM

Sept. 17 — Like other automakers, General Motors is preparing for a mostly electric future. The catch is that building those cars requires a lot fewer workers.

— Wired

 

Bloomberg: For the First Time, Wind Power Is About to Surpass Coal in Texas

Sept. 19 — Turbines in the Lone Star State are forecast to generate 87 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2020, according to a report Thursday from Rystad Energy. That will exceed the roughly 84 terawatt-hours next year from coal plants.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: Texas wind poised to outstrip coal generation with 87 TWh in 2020, report projects

Sept. 23 — Texas wind generators will produce about 87 TWh of electricity by 2020, versus 84.4 TWh from coal, Rystad forecasts. Natural gas generates the largest share of the state’s electricity.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Power company in Virginia wants to build offshore wind farm

Sept. 20 — Dominion Energy, the Virginia-based power company, is proposing to build the nation’s largest offshore wind development, a move expected to provide more renewable power to Dominion customers and provide a boost to the offshore wind industry along the Atlantic coast.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Wind energy in Texas to grow 50 percent in 3-year span

Sept. 19 –The Department of Energy reported that the wind industry in Texas added 3 gigawatts of wind generating capacity since the beginning of 2018 and plans to add another 7 gigawatts before the end of next year. One gigawatt provides enough power for about 700,000 homes.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Power Magazine (Opinion): Texas’ Impending Reliability Issues With Wind Power

Sept. 19 — Many of the wind turbines could not operate because the wind was stagnant, a common occurrence on very hot days. As a result, energy costs skyrocketed. In Houston, wholesale power prices spiked 49,000% (to $9,000 per megawatt-hour). The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) warned that reserve margins were so low that it might have to institute rolling blackouts, or controlled interruptions of power service. The independent system operator called for the construction of more gas-fired generating plants.

— Power Magazine

 

Power Engineering Magazine: Gas-fired and wind topping U.S. generation mix growth

Sept. 19 — Gas-fired generation and wind power are the fastest growing pieces of the U.S. electricity mix, according to the latest report from the federal Energy Information Administration.

— Power Engineering Magazine

 

Texas Observer: The Green New Deal Can Exist in Texas

Sept. 19 — It would also hopefully put to rest the perennial “chicken or egg” problem that hindered the industry at the time, says Carey King, the assistant director of University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute. “If transmission lines aren’t there, [companies] won’t commit money for wind turbines—and if the turbines aren’t there, how do you plan for more transmission lines and power plants on the grid?”

— Texas Observer

 

KVEO: Brownsville giving energy conservation notice

Sept. 18 — Recently the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has been sending warnings of over-consumption during days with high heat. ERCOT is asking residents to voluntarily monitor and reduce the amount of energy used on a daily basis.

— KVEO

 

Houston Chronicle: Solar installations down this year

Sept. 17 — The U.S. solar energy industry installed 2.1 gigawatts of new solar capacity during the second quarter, a 7 percent decrease from a year ago, reflecting interconnection delays in key commercial solar markets and new rate structures that have depressed demand.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG buys another retail power seller

Sept. 18 — NRG Energy, the biggest seller of electricity in Texas, just got bigger with the purchase of the customer accounts of American Light & Power, a retail electric provider based in Houston.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Angelo Standard-Times: Solar plant in Tom Green County becoming a reality

Sept. 18 — Energy from the Rambler solar project will be generated from more than 733,000 high efficiency bi-facial BiKu modules across about 1,700 acres west of San Angelo, according to a news release from Recurrent Energy’s parent company.

— San Angelo Standard-Times

 

CNBC: Renewable energy is now a compelling alternative as it costs less than fossil fuels, says Michael Milken

Sept.19 — Saving the environment is no longer the only compelling argument for switching to renewable energy, said Michael Milken, chairman of think tank Milken Institute, who pointed out that such energy sources are now cheaper than many fossil fuels.

— CNBC

 

Dallas Morning News: 18-wheeler knocks out power when it snags utility wires in Irving

Sept. 17 — Irving police and fire crews were called to the scene, along with Oncor and a hazardous materials team.

— Dallas Morning News

 

KVUE: Railroad Commission of Texas gives cause for Georgetown gas leaks that displaced hundreds

Sept. 17 — The RRC’s initial report shows that a T-fitting and a butt joint failed, leading to the evacuations.

— KVUE

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: EOG Resources lands deal to supply natural gas to Corpus Christi LNG

Sept. 16 — The companies confirmed the 15-year gas supply agreement in a joint statement released on Monday afternoon. Under the deal, EOG Resources will supply 140,000 million British Thermal Units of natural gas per day to the South Texas facility starting in 2020. The delivery amount will be gradually increased to 440,000 MMBTU of natural gas per day.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Gas rate increase proposed for Richardson residents, businesses

Sept. 16 — The change is the result of a rate review process overseen by the Atmos Cities Steering Committee, of which the city of Richardson is a founding member. Atmos originally proposed a systemwide increase of $54 million in base rates, according to a presentation made Sept. 16 by Cara Copley, the assistant director of finance for the city of Richardson. Following negotiations, an increase of $35.4 million was recommended by the steering committee.

— Community Impact Newspaper

Houston Chronicle: Want a job? Think energy efficiency

Sept. 16 — Energy efficiency is the fastest-growing segment of employment in the energy sector, reflecting demand for energy-efficient appliances, light bulbs and windows.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Fixed block solar and storage power solution

Sept. 16 — As the world shifts to a cleaner energy future, corporate entities are increasingly looking to cement the additionality and net impact of their power sourcing, with some leaders looking to more closely match renewable production with load consumption. At the same time, such leaders have become increasingly astute in electrical power pricing and commodity risk, including the understanding of market volatility risk; not only around peak and off-peak, but specific pricing hours.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Bill Gates Says Wind, Solar Subsidies Should Go to Something New

Sept. 16 — After decades of government incentives, wind and solar have been deployed widely enough for manufacturers and developers to become increasingly efficient and drive down costs. Now they can probably survive without them, Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Ikea owner investing in solar in Texas, Utah

Sept. 15 — The Dutch company that owns and operates 367 Ikea stores around the world announced it reached an agreement with Denmark-based investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners to acquire a 49 percent stake in two solar projects in Texas and Utah.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Can’t find your utility’s transmission rates? Blame regulators for keeping it murky

Sept. 16 — Say you’re shopping for a new electricity plan on the state-run website, Power to Choose, or using an independent electricity broker to winnow through dozens of offerings. The deals are typically ranked based on price, but how do you know if the price is correct and you’re really getting a good deal? It turns out it’s nearly impossible.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Victoria plants thrive during peak power demand months

Sept. 15 — Contrary to a recent Bloomberg report claiming Crossroads plants were “basically giving the stuff away for free,” John Packard, manager of power supply at South Texas Electric Cooperative, said he was selling power at upward of $8,000 per megawatt hour for most of the day.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Kilgore News Herald: SWEPCO breathes new life into wind energy efforts

Sept. 14 — About this time in 2017, the utility’s representatives were spreading the word about the Wind Catcher initiative. That $4.5 billion proposal was ultimately canceled in July 2018 after meeting resistance and being rejected by the Texas Public Utility Commission.

— Kilgore News Herald

 

San Marcos Corridor News: Seasonal Assessments Show Sufficient Electric Generation For Fall And Winter

Sept. 14 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve system-wide forecasted peak demand this fall and winter.

— San Marcos Corridor News

 

Victoria Advocate: Victoria plants thrive during peak power demand months

Sept. 15 — Contrary to a recent Bloomberg report claiming Crossroads plants were “basically giving the stuff away for free,” John Packard, manager of power supply at South Texas Electric Cooperative, said he was selling power at upward of $8,000 per megawatt hour for most of the day.

— Victoria Advocate

 

KTRK TV: Missouri City residents concerned about big stink over town

Sept. 14 — The Railroad Commission of Texas looked into it. They say it’s coming from a nearby Viceroy Petroleum Cities Services Lease Well.

— KTRK

6Community Impact Newspaper: Kyle amends pipeline-related ordinance, files motion to dismiss Kinder Morgan’s lawsuit

Sept. 13 — Lawyers for the city of Kyle filed a motion Sept. 11 to dismiss Kinder Morgan’s lawsuit against the city, based in part on the City Council’s adoption, two days earlier, of an amended version of the pipeline development ordinance on which the suit was based.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas expected to have plenty of power this fall, winter

Sept. 12 — The state’s grid manager predicted there will be enough generating capacity to meet demand this fall and winter.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: California solar company sews up financing for new solar farm in Texas

Sept. 12 — The California-based solar power company 174 Power Global announced it has received $210 million of construction financing for the first phase of a 150 megawatt solar farm near Odessa.

— Houston Chronicle

 

S&P Global Platts: ERCOT Spot prices spike on record loads, triple-digit temps, light wind

Sept. 12 — Record demand and reduced wind generation caused spot prices across its hubs in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to jump more than 375% year on year during August, which saw several days of triple-digit temperatures in most major metropolitan areas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: How to avoid crooks who use the confusion of the Texas electricity marketplace to steal your money

Sept. 12 — Somewhere out on this vast planet of ours, in an unknown location, sits a call center where the workers telephone Texans and inform them that their electricity is about to get shut off unless they pay their overdue bill. It’s a lie.

— Dallas Morning News

 

KETK: Paraglider electrocuted in Henderson County, FAA taking over investigation

Sept. 12 — According to Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse, the man was paragliding when he collided with some power lines.

— KETK

 

Austin Chronicle: Controversial Pipeline to Cross the Hill Country

Sept. 13 — Intrastate oversight is provided by the Texas Rail­road Commis­sion, and Fore cites as well permitting review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (endangered species), the Texas Commis­sion on Environmental Qual­ity (compression stations), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (surface water crossings).

— Austin Chronicle

 

Canon City Daily Record: Atmos Energy to begin upgrading in 2020

Sept. 11 — Atmos plans during the next five years to spend $15 million in Fremont County replacing about 15 miles of pipe. The projected work area in 2020 includes Harrison Avenue between College and Macon and Ninth and 12th streets and the area of Eighth and Bridge streets.

–Canon City Daily Record

 

Houston Chronicle: Can state’s grid manager be held accountable for its errors?

Sept. 12 — Panda Power built three power plants earlier in this decade, investing billions of dollars based on projections from the state’s grid manager that Texas desperately needed more generation to meet growing electricity demand. But those projections turned out to be wildly wrong — Texas, in fact, had plenty of power — and Panda ended up losing billions of dollars and putting one of the plants into bankruptcy, unable to sell electricity at prices sufficient to cover debts.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Antonio Business Journal: ERCOT says Texas grid OK heading into fall

Sept. 11 — The regulator doesn’t expect to call an energy emergency as it did twice this summer.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

D Magazine: The Risky Mission to Move a Giant Bald Eagle Nest Out of an Oncor Tower

September 2019: When a male and female made their home in a transmission tower pulsing with electricity, John DeFillipo came up with a plan: build a decoy.

— D Magazine

 

Brownwood News: City Council Approves Atmos Energy Settlement

Sept. 11 — The Council passed all Consent Agenda items including A. – a negotiated settlement between Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy regarding the 2019 rate review mechanism filing. B. – a resolution authorizing submission of a Downtown Revitalization Program grant application. C. – a resolution determining a slum and blighted area in the Downtown District. D. – adoption of a citizen participation plan and grievance procedures related to CDBG grant projects.

— Brownwood News

 

Houston Chronicle: Natural gas-fueled electricity is replacing coal, oil in Florida

Sept. 11 — The shift over the past decade means that Florida now has more natural gas-fired power installations than any other state, according to the Department of Energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

S&P Global Platts: Low natural gas prices drag wholesale power prices below year-ago levels

Sept. 10 — Natural gas prices declined this summer, fighting off upward pressure posed by the growing volume of LNG exports and high power sector consumption of the fuel, and driving forecasts for generally lower wholesale electricity prices across the country in 2019, the US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday.

— S&P Global Platts

 

Texas Public Radio: In Measure Overhauling Energy Policy, Ohio Pivots Away From Green Energy

Sept. 10 — Working to support wind and solar has become almost standard in states nationwide. Some are even phasing out coal but not Ohio. It recently passed a law doubling down on subsidies for power plants.

— Texas Public Radio

 

Houston Chronicle: Climate change an increasing concern for Texas voters, poll finds

Sept. 11 — A new poll finds that a majority of Texas voters support action to address climate change, but how strongly they feel about the issue heading into the 2020 elections depends in part on which political party they belong to.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Cheaper solar panels lowers cost of new solar capacity

Sept. 10 — Solar energy developers accounted for 37 percent of all new electricity generation construction costs in the United States in 2017, according to the Energy Department. Developers spent nearly $12 billion building the solar projects, adding 5 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity. One gigawatt provides enough electricity for about 700,000 homes.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KETK: Oncor offering free trees as part of Arbor Day

Sept. 9 — Oncor is partnering with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees across East Texas. It’s the eighth year for the company’s “Tree’s Progam” where they encourage homeowners to clean the air, water, and save money by planting trees.

— KETK

 

KBTX: Federal Railroad Commission to begin rule making on high speed railway

Sept. 9 — The company says the high-speed railway will run from North Texas, have a stop here in the Brazos Valley, and end in Houston. Texas Central says the 12 billion dollar project will bring 1,500 jobs total around all three stops, and an economic impact of 36 billion dollars over the course of 25 years.

— KBTX

 

USA Today: As Earth faces climate catastrophe, US set to open nearly 200 power plants

Sept. 9 — Powerful hurricanes. Record-breaking heatwaves. Droughts that bring ruin to farmers. Raging forest fires. The mass die-off of the world’s coral reefs. Food scarcity.

— USA Today

Houston Chronicle: Industry-funded group calls for natural gas to be part of Houston’s climate plan

Sept. 7 — While the city’s proposed climate action plan has been generally well received, an industry-funded group is calling Houston out for not explicitly mentioning natural gas as a solution.

— Houston Chronicle

San Antonio Express-News (Opinion): Don’t rush into renewable energy

Sept. 6 — Safe, reliable and affordable energy is a necessity in everyone’s lives, whether you run a business, rely on lifesaving medical equipment or are just going about your daily routine.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Reuters: Texas Power Prices Dive From Record High as Consumers Conserve Energy During Heat Wave

Sept. 6 — SPOT POWER prices in Texas for Friday crashed from a record high as consumers responded to requests from the state’s grid operator to turn down their air conditioners and take other steps to save energy during a brutal heat wave.

— Reuters

 

S&P Global Platts: Heat wave combines with low wind output to send ERCOT prices soaring

Sept. 6 — As a heat wave continued to plague the Electric Reliability Council of Texas with triple-digit high temperatures Friday afternoon, output from ERCOT’s 22-GW wind fleet plunged to less than 1.2 GW, resulting in real-time prices soaring into quadruple digits for almost two hours.

— Platts

Fox San Antonio: What will city’s proposed climate plan cost?

Sept. 6 — With record heat and high energy demand, leaders at the Texas power grid ERCOT once again asked people to conserve energy Friday afternoon.

— Fox San Antonio

 

Reuters: Valero Energy begins cost review of renewable diesel plant in Texas

Sept. 9 — Production from the plant would increase Diamond Green Diesel Holdings’s annual renewable diesel production to about 1.1 billion gallons, with nearly 100 million gallons of renewable naphtha production, the companies said.

— Reuters

 

Electric Light & Power: ERCOT sees enough electricity capacity for fall, winter

Sept. 9 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) anticipates there will be sufficient installed generating capacity available to serve system-wide forecasted peak demand this fall and winter.

— Electric Light & Power

 

Houston Chronicle: Power shopping site slow to reflect new rates

Sept. 6 — Higher rates for electricity transmission and distribution went into effect Sunday, but several retail electricity providers have not updated their plans on the state-sponsored comparison shopping site, making their offerings look cheaper, but setting up buyers for an unpleasant surprise when they open their first bill.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KXAN: ERCOT requests customers to conserve electricity use on Friday

Sept. 5 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is urging consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use between the hours of 2 and 7 p.m. on Friday to help manage record-breaking demand due to the highest temperatures so far this summer.

— KXAN

 

ABC 4 News: ERCOT asking Texans to conserve electricity on Thursday, Friday afternoon

Sept. 4 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is asking residents and businesses to limit their electricity use on Thursday and Friday afternoon.

— ABC 4 News

 

Houston Chronicle: ERCOT asks Texans to conserve power this week

Sept. 4 — The state’s grid manager asked consumers and businesses to reduce their electricity use on Thursday and Friday, especially during 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., as high heat and record breaking demand are expected to strain electricity supplies.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KSST Radio: Atmos increase

Sept. 4 — The Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Company reached an agreement with Atmos years ago over for what was call a rate review mechanism ti replace a reliability infrastructure process. An alternative to a piece-meal rate system was proposed, according to Maxwell.

— KSST Radio

 

Texas Public Radio: Trump Administration Reverses Standards For Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs

Sept. 4 — The Trump administration is rolling back requirements for new, energy-efficient light bulbs. The Energy Department announced the move on Wednesday, withdrawing standards that were to be put in place to make commonly used bulbs more efficient.

— Texas Public Radio

 

Reuters: Texas power prices jump to record high as heat bakes state

Sept. 5 — Next-day power prices at the ERCOT North hub soared from $130 per megawatt hour (MWh) for Wednesday to an all-time high of $973.75 for Thursday, according to Refinitiv data going back to 2010. That tops the previous record of $751 on Aug. 15 during the last heat wave to hit the state.

— Reuters

 

Star-Tribune: CenterPoint says ‘Don’t Single Out Natural Gas as a Problem’

Sept. 4 — It’s an essential energy source for Minnesota, and we at CenterPoint are meeting that need while working hard to limit climate impacts.

— Star-Tribune

 

CleanTechnica: Facebook Signs 200 Megawatt Wind Power Purchase Agreement In Texas

Sept. 4 — Aviator Wind, which is being developed by Apex Clean Energy and owned by funds managed by Ares Management Infrastructure and Power is expected to begin operations in 2020 and is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 196,000 households. The project will be the largest single-phase wind project in Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and the largest single-phase, single-site wind project in the United States.

— CleanTechnica

 

S&P Global Platts: ERCOT prices likely to spike with heat wave this week: analysts

Sept. 3 — As a heat wave grips the Electric Reliability Council of Texas with triple-digit temperatures, power traders appear to expect real-time prices to spike, as balance-of-week forwards ranged Tuesday between $710 and the mid-$770s/MWh.

— S&P Global Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: Wind project changes owners in Texas Panhandle

Sept. 4 — Dallas-based wind developer Tri Global Energy announced the sale of the wind energy assets of Changing Winds Renewable Energy Project to Invenergy, a wind developer based in Chicago.

— Houston Chronicle

 

ABC 7 News (Amarillo): Xcel Energy Texas customers getting refund this month following lower fuel costs

Sept. 3 — The refund, which has been approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, is related to several months of lower costs for natural gas used to fuel area power plants – savings that are expected to continue with the addition of the new Hale Wind Project near Plainview, which started commercial operations at the end of June.

— ABC 7 News (Amarillo)

 

CBS DFW: Oncor Workers Heading To Florida Before Hurricane Dorian

Aug. 30 — Crews loaded up and headed for Florida Friday morning. Their goal is to get in place and be prepared when the storm makes landfall and will no doubt cause power outages.

— CBS DFW

 

WFAA: Oncor crews leave to help ahead of Hurricane Dorian in Florida

Aug.30 — More than 100 Oncor employees and contractors geared up to travel to Florida Friday morning as part of their plan to beat Hurricane Dorian’s arrival.

— WFAA

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity costs more in Houston as transmission, distribution charges rise

Sept. 3 — Residential customers of CenterPoint, the regulated utility that distributes most of the electricity in the Houston area, will pay an extra $6.34 a month for transmission and distribution charges on 1,000 kilowatt-hours of power. The new charge — at 4.0512 cents per kilowatt-hour plus a monthly billing fee of $5.47 — means that a household that uses 1,000 kilowatts of power a month will pay nearly $46 in transmission and distribution charges.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Tribune: The straining Texas power grid needs some pricing help from regulators

Sept. 3 — Not surprisingly, when temperatures rise, the demand for electricity grows — mainly for air-conditioning. In Texas, where life would be unbearable without cooling, the power grid has been stretched to the limit. On at least a dozen hot afternoons this summer, the state’s grid operator, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), has requested the utilities delivering power to ask their customers to voluntarily reduce consumption. Twice in early August, ERCOT declared Energy Emergency Alerts when reserves dipped below 10% with 5.2 gigawatts of power offline for maintenance.

— Texas Tribune

 

Texas Observer: The Environmental Protection Agency Wants to Repeal its Methane Emissions Limits

Aug. 30 — Natural gas wells are regulated by both the Railroad Commission (RRC), which issues permits, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which monitors emissions. Both are notoriously lax at enforcing the state’s already weak environmental regulations.

— Texas Observer

 

Utility Dive: Former FERC adviser puts $5.7B price tag on PJM’s clean energy market policy

Sept. 3 — Four states within PJM have approved subsidies for nuclear and renewables. Fossil fuel generators within PJM, especially outside of those states, have argued that clean energy subsidies drive prices down in a way that unfairly block their resources from the largest single auction of electric power in the nation.

— Utility Dive

 

Power Magazine: A Renewable Benefit as Texas Extends Tax Abatement Program

Sept. 3 — The extension—House Bill (HB) 3143—brings a new transparency to the program for taxpayers. Renewable energy developers in Texas have leaned heavily on the Chapter 312 and Chapter 313 programs as they look to develop projects, and tax incentives available in Texas make it one of the friendliest states in the U.S. for renewable energy development. Property taxes are the main source of revenue for Texas cities and counties, as there is no state income tax, and property taxes can be one of the largest expenses for a greenfield project.

— Power Magazine

 

Utility Dive: The unknown costs of a 100% carbon-free future

Sept. 3 — But cost impacts cannot be certain until technologies protecting reliability are in place, Washington and New York utilities told Utility Dive. In contrast, Colorado and New Mexico were able to use utilities’ expectations of lower costs to bolster political support. There are still many unknowns about the mandates’ costs, advocates acknowledged. But that is not a reason to prevent enacting them, they added.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Flaring, or Why So Much Gas Is Going Up in Flames

Aug. 29 — If you take a drive along the well-worn highways of West Texas, orange flames will punctuate your journey. Those are gas flares, and they’re lighting up the skies above West Texas oilfields like never before as drillers produce crude faster than pipes can be laid to haul the attendant natural gas away.

— Bloomberg Business

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas Broker Registration Shows Nearly 800 Thus Far

Aug. 30 — s of publication time, approximately 785 brokers have filed as Texas electric brokers thus far.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Retail Energy X: Texas PUC Approves Settlements With Multiple Retail Electric Providers Totaling $100,000

Aug. 30 — The Public Utility Commission of Texas approved without modification separate settlements with two retail electric providers.

— Retail Energy Choice

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas electricity rates climbing higher than U.S. average

Aug. 27 — Residential electricity prices in Texas increased 4.1 percent in the past two years compared to the U.S. average increase of 0.3 percent, the Department of Energy reported.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Sweltering heat, absent wind could trigger increase to Austin Energy bills

Aug. 27 — Austin Energy customers could see an 8.5% rate hike to a portion of their bills after outages to the utility’s power plants.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Retail Energy X: Industrial Electric Rates Lower In Choice Areas, according to TCAP Report 

Aug. 28 — In a review of Texas electric rates for industrial customers, the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power reported that, for 2017 (the most recent data available), industrial electric rates in electric choice areas of Texas were 7.8 percent lower than corresponding Texas rates outside of deregulation.

— Retail Energy X

 

Rivard Report: CPS Energy Lobbied for Changes Before Agreeing to Climate Action Plan

Aug. 27 — Aug. 27 — Since San Antonio’s climate planning efforts first kicked off in December 2017, CPS Energy has played a significant, if not vocal role. The vast majority of the money used to develop the proposal came from the utility, which spent $450,000 on a contract with Navigant Consulting to develop the plan and provided $295,000 in funding to the University of Texas at San Antonio for climate modeling and other efforts.

— Rivard Report

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: What that $9K electricity trading day means to Denton

Aug. 26 — Electricity from Texas wind farms had dropped. The market conditions encouraged all kinds of electricity generators to get busy. Denton’s new natural gas-fired power plant, the Denton Energy Center, made and sold electricity. The Spencer Generating Plant, Denton’s old natural gas-fired power plant now owned by the city of Garland, got in the game. Bloomberg reported prices around Victoria that suggested a few Gulf Coast plastics and chemical factories with on-site generators cut their own usage in order to sell electricity to the grid.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

Texas Standard: Why Victoria Was Able To Produce Surplus Energy Despite Shortages Statewide

Aug. 26 — Victoria is home to several large industrial manufacturers, some of which produce their own energy that goes unused.

— Texas Standard

Midland Reporter-Telegram: power restored after mass outage in Midland on hottest day of the year

Aug. 26 — Power has been restored in downtown Midland after a mass outage Monday afternoon, according to Sue Mercer, Oncor’s West Region Manager of Customer Operations.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

KXAN: Updated ERCOT app lets consumers help save energy

Aug. 25 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as ERCOT, has upgraded their smartphone app giving customers more real-time details on when to conserve power.

— KXAN

 

Waco Tribune-Herald: City fights water company for service at new landfill site during permitting

Aug. 26 — State regulators this fall will hear the city of Waco’s legal complaint that the Prairie Hill Water Supply Corp. is illegally denying water service for a proposed city landfill site on the eastern edge of McLennan County while the years-long permitting process unfolds.

— Waco Tribune-Herald

 

Brownwood News: Public Hearing Tuesday on Proposed Budget for Brownwood

Aug. 25 — Consider an ordinance on first reading regarding a negotiated settlement between Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy regarding the 2019 rate review mechanism filing.

— Brownwood News

 

Associated Press: Environmentalists Create Nonprofit Texas Coastal Exchange

Aug. 25 — Scientists stress the urgency of keeping the planet from getting warmer, citing the need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, and land can play an important role in doing just that. Natural ecosystems such as Texas coastal marshes, prairies and bottomland hardwood forests absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and incorporate it into their roots. That carbon then becomes part of the soil and can remain there for a long time.

— Associated Press

 

Forbes: Energy Storage Developer Buy Texas Windfarms With Major Battery Retrofit Planned

Aug. 24 — Having previously largely developed standalone storage projects or being brought in to assist with storage bolt-ons to generation projects, GlidePath Energy’s proactive play, and the scale of it, is telling.

— Forbes

 

Chicago Tribune: A Texas company is closing 4 Illinois coal plants but plans to keep some of its dirtiest units running

Aug. 22 — Four other coal plants that survived the cutbacks Vistra announced Wednesday were responsible for more than 80% of the asthma-triggering sulfur dioxide emitted by the company in Illinois last year, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis of federal data.

— Chicago Tribune

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas’ largest power company plans to close four coal-fired plants in Illinois

Aug. 22 — The company, the largest power producer in Texas, became Illinois’ biggest producer of coal-fired electricity last year.

— Dallas Morning News

 

KPRC: Residents sue CenterPoint, others for $50 million in regards to pipeline causing flooding

Aug. 21 — The lawsuit names CenterPoint Energy Oiltanking Properties, L.P. and Enterprise Product Partners L.P. as being responsible for flooding and foundation issues in their homes due to the installation of a pipeline that runs just behind their homes.

— KPRC TV

 

Alice Echo News Journal: CenterPoint employees respond to natural gas outage

Aug. 21 — When the residents of Alice experienced a natural gas outage that affected more than 4,100 CenterPoint Energy (CNP) customers due to a third-party damage to the pipeline supplier for that community. CNP employees and contractors responded to the outage

— Alice Echo Journal

 

Beaumont Enterprise: Entergy says to expect lower bills in September

Aug. 21 — Starting in September, average residential customers should see a reduction in the fuel cost charge on their bill as the company adjusts it reflect a decline in fuel price.

— Beaumont Enterprise

 

Utility Dive: Storage developer plans to bring batteries to Texas wind portfolio

Aug. 21 — Energy storage developer GlidePath on Tuesday announced it acquired a 149 MW North Texas wind farm from Exelon, and plans to optimize the output of those eight projects through battery storage.

— Utility Dive

 

CBS DFW: Griddy Customers Report Dramatic Spike In Electric Bills During August

Aug. 20 — But customers of one company are getting bills that are many times higher than the state average, in some cases, paying between $100 and $200 per day.

— CBS DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: More consolidation in retail power as Vistra buys another rival

Aug. 20 — Vistra Energy, the Irving power company best known for its TXU brand, said Tuesday that it reached a deal to buy the Dallas electricity retailer Ambit Energy in a $475 million deal that will further consolidate the retail electricity market in Texas and add to concerns of higher prices as competition dwindles.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle (Opinion): How to fix Texas’ Soviet-style electricity market

Aug. 20 — The Texas electricity market is rife with market manipulation and major disincentives for generators to maintain a reliable supply of power. The latest examples of this have become public in recent days, a state of affairs that costs Texas consumers real money each year.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas electricity giant Vistra grows its market share with $475 million deal for Ambit Energy

Aug. 20 — Vistra grew out of the 2016 bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Corpus Christi Caller-Times (Opinion): How the Texas oil and gas industry prepares for hurricane season

Aug. 20 — When we think of summer in Texas, we think of heat, holidays, hot dogs … and hurricane season. The Texas oil and natural gas industry not only plays a role in keeping Texans cooled off and fueled up for summer, the men and women of the industry also make it a point to stay ready for the next storm to threaten our shores.

— Corpus Christi Caller-Times

 

Texas Standard: Renewable Energy Companies Take Interest In Central Texas

Aug. 20 — A solar farm in Robinson may soon be online as construction is scheduled to be completed this fall.

— Texas Standard

S&P Global Platts: ERCOT’s price surge may have hurt some retail electricity providers

Aug. 16 — This past week’s extremely high real-time wholesale power prices in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas may have hurt some retail electricity providers that inadequately hedged their risk, industry observers say.

— S&P Global Platts

 

ABC 13: $400 bill for half a month: Customers upset with energy company

Aug. 16 — Customers of energy company Griddy are outraged over a price hike that has some customers paying hundreds of dollars only halfway through the month.

— ABC 13

 

KVUE: ERCOT warns Texans about energy conservation following record peak demand

Aug. 16– Peak hours are considered 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. when the heat of the day builds up. On Aug. 12, ERCOT reported 74,531 megawatts used during peak demand. At 78,000, they start to implement rolling blackouts across the state.

— KVUE

 

Utility Dive: ERCOT calls 2nd energy emergency this week, 3rd in 5 years

Aug. 16 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued an Energy Emergency Alert Thursday, marking the second time this week that the grid operator was forced to rely on customer conservation and call on all available sources of generation.

— Utility Dive

 

KPRC: 5 things to know about Griddy’s wholesale energy deal

Aug. 16 — For months, customers said they thought they had a great deal, but when the Houston heat wave hit, prices skyrocketed. Some customers said they spent more than $350 for eight days’ worth of energy.

— KPRC

 

Austin American-Statesman: Austin Energy wind contract increases renewable energy sources

Aug. 16 — Austin Energy will receive up to an additional 200 megawatts of Texas wind.

— Austin American-Statesman

S&P Platts Global: Total US renewables generation down 1% year on year

Aug. 14 — The California Independent System Operator maintained its position as the grid with the most renewables across eight US power regions during for the first half of 2019, even as overall renewable output across the country slipped 1% year on year, despite multiple regions setting records.

— Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: Power plant outages, low wind puts Texans on high alert to conserve power

Aug. 15 — Unexpected power outages and reduced wind levels sent wholesale electricity prices in Houston soaring for the second day this week to $9,000 per megawatt hour Thursday afternoon — the highest price allowed in Texas — as the state’s grid manager called for conservation as the state moves dangerously close to rolling blackouts.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Heat, high demand boost power prices to $1,750 a megawatt hour in Houston
Aug. 15 — Local wholesale electricity prices peaked at $1,750 per megawatt hour at 6 p.m. Wednesday afternoon as the heat continued to blanket the Houston area and the state’s grid manager put generators on notice that reserves were dropping to uncomfortably low level.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: A wind farm that can power 168,000 homes is blowing into Central Texas

Aug. 13 –When representatives of a renewable energy company first approached Concho County residents about building a wind farm on their sloping terrain in Central Texas, landowners weren’t sold.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: Texas utilities poised to get ability to own energy storage assets

Aug. 13 — Starting Sept. 1, ​municipal utilities and electric cooperatives in Texas will be allowed to own energy storage facilities that sell energy and/or ancillary services without being forced to register as a power generator. The corresponding bill was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in May.

— Utility Dive

 

Dallas Business Journal: Atmos Energy appoints new CEO and President

Atmos Energy CEO and President Mike Haefner will step down to focus on a recent health issue. The company has appointed a new president and CEO.

— Dallas Business Journal

 

Abilene Reporter News: Texas electric grid system ERCOT experiencing record demands in heat wave

Aug. 12 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the flow of electricity for about 90% of the state’s customers, can generate a maximum capacity of about 78,000 megawatts of electricity for peak demand, according to the ERCOT website.

— Abilene Reporter News

 

S&P Global Platts: ERCOT sets peakload record; real-time prices top $6,000/MWh

Aug. 12 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas market blew through its all-time record peakload by about 1.3 GW on Monday and set quadruple-digit real-time prices for more than two hours, as a heat wave sent Texas temperatures into triple digits in most major population centers.

— S&P Global Platts

 

Houston Business Journal: Former NRG renewable arm eyes three solar projects in Texas

Aug. 12 — The three solar projects in Texas are seeking tax incentives from the local county and school district.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Texarkana Gazette: Abandoned ex-well site becoming nature preserve

Aug. 13 — Today, with the help of the Railroad Commission’s Brownfield Response Program, the old well site has been deemed safe, allowing the conservation group, Artist Boat, to move ahead with restoring the coastal prairie, planting native grasses. Indian blankets, horse mint and other wildflowers now thrive there.

— Texarkana Gazette

 

Bloomberg: Texas Braces for `Power Emergency’ as Heat Pushes Grid to Edge

Aug. 12 — With temperatures in Dallas approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius), the Electric Reliability Council of Texas issued a statement saying it was increasingly likely the electricity system could experience shortages. Environmental officials may ease emission restrictions, allowing power plants to operate at maximum capacity, the grid operator said.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: New price adders boosting electricity prices in Texas

Aug. 13 — The Public Utility Commission agreed this spring to increase the amount generators could charge for producing power during periods of peak demand. If operating reserves dip below 2,000 megawatts of operating reserves the price adders would increase the price of power to $9,000 per megawatt hour, the highest price allowed in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity providers asking Texas customers to take it easier amid record-breaking demand

Aug. 12 — With summer heat expected to top 100 degrees, electric providers are asking Texas residents to help ease power demand during peak times on Monday and Tuesday.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Have you dealt with electricity disconnection? Tell us about it

Aug. 8 — A team of GateHouse Media news reporters wants to know. They’re working on a series of reports on rising rates of electricity disconnections and are seeking examples from around Texas.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Orange Leader: Orange to see new meters from Entergy

Aug. 10 — In November, residents will start receiving new advanced meters which will be an energy-saving tool for customers but also gives Entergy Texas a clearer real-time picture of the power grid and how it is operating. Outages can be identified remotely and more accurately, so crews can make repairs and restore electricity faster.These are all part of Entergy Texas, Inc.’s vision for a smarter energy future. The company took another step toward that vision when the Public Utility Commission of Texas voted to approve an advanced metering system.

— Orange Leader

 

The Hill (Opinion): The credible case for Texas and its clean energy solutions

Aug. 9 — Recent criticism of increased Texas greenhouse gas emissions makes an important point: Without reducing emissions in Texas, U.S. climate and clean energy goals are at risk. Jeremy Symons’ Aug. 6 op-ed for The Hillnotes that there are federal solutions to address this problem, but he doesn’t discuss that Texas has the solutions to be both a leader and a model for other states if current policymaking ambition matches the level of innovation sweeping across the Lone Star state.

— The Hill

Reuters: Texas power demand to hit record high next week as heat bakes state

Aug. 9 — Demand for electricity in Texas will reach record levels next week as consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape a heat wave baking much of the state, according to projections by the state’s power grid operator.

— Reuters

 

The Hill (Opinion): Expect more blackouts unless we invest in our energy grid

Aug. 10 — Even before summer’s hottest months, utility providers in California warned they might cut power on windy days to prevent wildfires caused by falling power lines. In Texas, utilities said they would urge consumersto conserve electricity to avoid the need for rolling blackouts when record heat leads to record electricity usage that can overwhelm the system. Despite having one of the most reliable electricity systems in the country, much of midtown Manhattan and parts of the Upper West Side were plunged into darkness last month, 42 years to the day of the New York City blackout of 1977.

— The Hill

 

S&P Global Platts: ERCOT real-time prices hit quadruple digits as peakload nears record

Aug. 9 — As total power demand on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid approached its forecast peak near its all-time record on Friday, real-time prices surged into quadruple digits, which may happen again Monday when loads are forecast to top the all-time peak by about 2,000 MW.

— S&P Global Platts

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Railroad Commission shutters Laredo-area coal mine

Aug. 9 — The mine has been under a reclamation process for 10 years, a Commission spokeswoman said.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Dallas Morning News: Atmos Energy CEO Steps down to Deal with Health Issues

Aug. 12 — Atmos Energy Corp. named Kevin Akers, 56, its new chief executive, starting in October.
Akers previously served as senior vice president of Atmos’ safety and enterprise services. He will also join the company’s board.

— Dallas Morning News

 

S&P Global Platts: ERCOT fails to hit new peakload record amid tame real-time power prices

Aug. 8 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set an August record for peakload Wednesday and was forecast to surge past the all-time record Thursday. ERCOT failed to hit that record Thursday, but real-time prices were more robust than during Wednesday’s record peakload.

— S&P Global Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: How Griddy exposed flaws in wholesale power market

Aug. 9 — Griddy, the California electricity seller that came to Texas to disrupt the retail power industry, is shaking up the market in more ways than one.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas power prices will drop this year, government says

Aug. 9 — The Energy Department expects prices in Texas to fall 28 percent this year to an average annual price of $30 per megawatt hour. The government points to lower than usual temperatures which, in turn, lead to lower summertime electricity demand. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes during a hot summer day in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KVII News: Xcel Energy files rate review with Texas regulators

Aug. 8 — Fuel cost savings will more than offset the annual cost of Xcel Energy’s investment in the new Hale Wind Project but continued upgrades to the region’s electric transmission and distribution systems will lead to higher rates for Xcel Energy’s Texas customers in 2020.

— KVII News

Power Engineering: NRG completes $300M buy of Stream retail electricity biz

Aug. 8 — Houston-based utility NRG Energy has completed its $300 million all-cash acquisition of Stream Energy’s retail electricity and natural gas businesses.

— Power Engineering Magazine

 

KLTV: Railroad Commission of Texas works to digitize 1.7 million documents

Aug. 8 — The Railroad Commission of Texas has about a hundred years worth of filing to do. Of course, it already is filed in rows of cabinets at the Kilgore office. Information Services Manager Roy Philips out of Austin says all that paper needs to be electronic.

— KLTV

 

KCEN TV: Who’s responsible for trees next to backyard power lines?

Aug. 8 — Any low voltage lines going from the power line to a person’s house are the home owner’s responsibility. The rest of the lines and the transformer on the utility poll are high voltage and Oncor’s responsibility.

— KCEN TV

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG’s second quarter profit doubles

Aug. 7 — NRG Energy, the biggest seller of electricity in Texas, said Wednesday that its second quarter profits more than double from the previous year as the company continued to streamline operations and slash debt despite milder weather in June that depressed demand for electricity.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Centerpoint swings to profit

Aug. 7 — CenterPoint Energy, the Houston electric utility, said it swung to a profit in the second quarter, citing higher utility rates from regulators, lower operation and maintenance expenses and customer growth.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG CEO Gutierrez says ERCOT overstates generation capacity

Aug. 7 — The state’s grid manager, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is predicting healthier power reserves over the next five years as more solar and wind projects come online and relieve concerns Texas won’t have enough electricity to meet the state’s needs. But those predictions are too optimistic, said NRG CEO Mauricio Gutierrez, who leads Texas’ biggest seller of electricity.

— Houston Chronicle

 

S&P Global Platts: Prioritizing oil, Texas Railroad Commission rejects challenge to gas flaring permit

Aug. 7 — Citing rock-bottom natural gas prices at Texas hubs — where prices go negative at times, forcing producers to pay for gas takeaway — Commissioner Ryan Sitton said shutting in nearly $500,000 per day of oil production coming from Exco Resources’ Briscoe Ranch wells to prevent burning off roughly $10,000 per day of associated gas production would be a waste that the commission is charged with preventing.

— S&P Global Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: Coal-fired power plants going way of dinosaur

Aug. 7 — Coal-fired power plants are being replaced by more efficient and cheaper sources of power, mostly because of an abundance of low-priced natural gas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Reuters: Texas power prices almost double as heat wave boosts demand to record high

Aug. 7 — Spot power prices in Texas almost doubled for Wednesday on forecasts demand for electricity would hit record levels next week as consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape a heat wave baking much of the state.

— Reuters

 

Texas Tribune (Opinion): Gas flaring is a symptom of political wrong-headedness

Aug. 6 — Only ten years ago, most Americans would probably have scoffed at the notion that wasting natural resources is “necessary.” Most of us were probably unaware that the fossil fuel industry has always wasted gas in flares. But the fracking boom changed that: As the boom has catapulted the U.S. into the top five flaring nations, just behind Iran and Iraq, flaring has become the symbol of opportunistic wastefulness in an industry at the center of the climate crisis.

— Texas Tribune

 

Dallas Observer: Texas Used More Energy from Wind Than Coal this Year — What Does that Actually Mean?

Aug. 5 — For the first time in the brief history of wind power, Texas produced more energy from wind than coal, by a small margin. While this sounds like good news for renewable energy, and it is, what the numbers actually indicate is complicated.

— Dallas Observer

 

Bloomberg: Blunder That Sent Power Prices Surging 24,000% Ends Up on Bills

Aug. 3 — It’s a misfortune unlikely to happen outside Texas, where the power market is completely deregulated and dozens of retail electricity providers compete for customers. Unlike in other states, Texas retail electricity prices aren’t set by regulators, leaving many customers exposed to the ebbs and flows of wholesale markets. Now the grid operator and a power trader are battling over who should pay for the error that inflated bills for Kern and other customers.

— Bloomberg

 

Dallas Morning News: Vistra Energy CEO tells Wall Street it’s undervaluing the electricity producer

Aug. 3 — The Irving-based power producer would look at any available means to “unlock value,” Morgan said during an earnings call Friday in response to an analyst’s question. “I don’t know if it’s taking it private or not, but that certainly would be on the list. I think it has to be. That’s not rocket science.”

— Dallas Morning News

 

Austin American-Statesman: Austin is ranked top 10 for clean energy, study finds

Aug. 2 — Austin’s dedication to clean energy has earned it a reputation of being among the most energy efficient cities in America, according to a study done by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Houston Chronicle: Heat sets two-year power use record

Aug. 2 — But a heat wave in the third week of July that extended from the Midwest to the Atlantic coast caused demand to power air conditioners and fans to rise to the highest level in two years, according to the Department of Energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Everything Lubbock: Renewable energy tops coal in Texas — How it will impact consumers

Aug. 1 –Throughout Texas history, coal always topped renewable sources in energy production, until this year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of April 2019, renewable energy reached a production level at 23 percent, compared to coal at 20 percent.

— Everything Lubbock

 

WFAA: How Oncor powered up DFW after the storm

July 31 — Restoring power to hundreds of thousands of area residents isn’t as easy as flipping a switch: It requires planning and practice long before a storm strikes, plus a decisive real-time response.
The storms that struck Dallas with 70 mph winds and left more than 350,000 people in early June without power were some of the worst conditions Oncor Electric Delivery has faced in its existence.

— WFAA

 

Houston Chronicle: New way to keep power on when utility can’t

Aug. 1 — The battery would be enough to provide between eight and 12 hours of back-up electricity, enough to get a customer through the night under the sun rises the following day and could replenish the battery.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Hays Free Press: Kinder Morgan files suit against Kyle over pipeline law

July 31 — The ongoing battle over Kinder Morgan’s proposed Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) took a turn last week when the Houston-based energy firm filed litigation against Kyle.
Basis for the lawsuit, filed July 21 at the U.S. District Court in Austin, stems from Kyle’s pipeline safety ordinance that was approved by its city council in May. Among other contingencies, the new rules would require the PHP to be buried some 15 feet underground in some areas.

— Hays Free Press

 

Spectrum News: San Marcos to Go Solar: How You Can Take It Further

July 30 — Hydroelectricity already powers 3.5 percent of the city’s usage, and there’s an agreement for future wind power usage of 3.6 percent. This new solar power purchase adds 2.5 percent and will bring the total renewable energy usage for the city to almost 10 percent by 2021.

— Spectrum News

 

USA TODAY (Opinion): Flaring natural gas turns ‘drill, baby, drill’ to ‘burn, baby, burn’

July 30 — As Europe bakes, wildfires burn in the Arctic Circle and July is shaping up as Earth’s hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880, Americans are becoming more keenly aware of global warming. They increasingly recognize the need to reduce burning fossil fuels that generate heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

— USA Today

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Enterprise makes final investment decision on offshore crude oil export terminal

July 30 — Houston pipeline operator Enterprise Products Partners has made a final investment decision on the company’s proposed offshore crude oil export terminal following two contracts with Chevron.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity prices to stay low as long as it doesn’t get too hot

July 31 — Cooler than normal temperatures and ample generation supplies have kept electricity prices unusually low this summer.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Calpine reports lower net income

July 31 — The 24 percent drop in net income was driven primarily by higher income taxes in the most recent quarter which was partially offset by an increase in commodity revenue and starting commercial operations in March of a 828-megawatt combined-cycle electric generating facility in Pennsylvania.

— Houston Chronicle

Alice Echo: Broken pipeline leaves natural gas customers without service

July 29 — A broken pipeline left some 3,500 CenterPoint Energy customers in Alice without service early Monday afternoon, and city officials are saying the restoration could take up to three days.

— Alice Echo

 

Texas Monthly: Author Russell Gold Says Texas Has Become Leader in Renewable Energy

July 29 –“Wind is still growing, and we’re sort of sitting right on a solar boom. And I think part of the reason is because the market’s driving this, and a conservative Texas majority would have to basically turn anti-market to really stop it.”

— Texas Monthly

 

CNN: Wind is outpacing coal as a power source in Texas for the first time

July 25 — Wind has generated 22% of the state’s electrical needs this year. It just edged out coal, which provided 21% of the Lone Star State’s power, according to the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, which manages electrical flow on about 90% of the Texan grid.

— CNN

 

Houston Chronicle: A May price spike shows vulnerability of power market to manipulation — and cost to consumers

July 26 — The error was inadvertent, an unknowing mistake by an IT worker, and was corrected in three minutes. But within those moments, the price of electricity on Texas’ wholesale market soared from about $40 a megawatt hour to $9,000.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: ERCOT: Wind outpaced coal on Texas grid for the first time

July 26 — Texas wind generation narrowly edged out coal in the first half of this year — a first since the Electric Reliability Council of Texas began tracking the state’s fuel mix in 2003.

Utility Dive

 

Reuters: First big U.S. offshore wind project hits snag due to fishing-industry concerns

July 29 — Trump administration infighting is holding up approval of the first major U.S. offshore wind energy project, with agencies sparring over whether the proposal does enough to protect the fishing industry, according to interviews and agency documents.

— Reuters

 

Houston Chronicle: Solar growth to speed up after stumbling last year, report says

July 29 — The research firm Wood Mackenzie said it believes the solar market has returned to growth after slowing last year in China, the world’s largest solar market.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Climate News: Climate concern steady but less support for related policies, according to survey

May 22 — In this year’s survey results, released last week, the “very serious problem” view was held by 53 percent, essentially the same number as a year before. The 2019 survey was conducted Feb. 14 and March 4.

— Texas Climate News

 

Houston Chronicle: ERCOT rejects opening electrical can of worms

July 25 — The manager of the Texas electric grid said Wednesday that it should not be forced to fix a data error that increased electricity costs by millions of dollars and reprice a block of wholesale power sales because generators submit erroneous data so frequently it would have to adjust prices as often as once a day.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KUT 90.5: Texas Has Generated More Electricity From Wind Than Coal So Far This Year

July 24 — Texas is the largest consumer of coal in the country, according to the Energy Information Administration. But cheap natural gas and renewable energy prices are biting into coal’s market share.

—KUT 90.5

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Council delays decision to raise DME rates

July 24 — City leaders put off deciding on a rate increase for Denton Municipal Electric customers this week, but the numbers don’t look good.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

KXAN: Kinder Morgan fires back at city of Kyle over safety ordinance

July 23 — Kinder Morgan, the company constructing the 430-mile, natural gas pipeline, filed a lawsuit Monday against the city of Kyle, claiming that a pipeline safety ordinance the city recently passed violates both federal and Texas law. It also calls for a pause to the enforcement of the city’s ordinance while this case is being sorted out in court.

— KXAN

 

Austin American-Statesman: Pipeline operator sues to block Kyle regulations

July 23 — Last week, Hays County, the Travis Audubon Society and three landowners that they intend to file a federal lawsuit seeking to stop construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline, a $2 billion project designed to transport natural gas from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

San Marcos Daily Record: City To Increase Total Renewable Energy With New Solar Power Agreement

July 23 — The City Council approved San Marcos Electric Utility’s pursuit of solar power contracts in January in order to utilize improving financial opportunities in the industry. The purchase with LCRA will provide approximately 6.7 megawatts to the City during afternoon peak times, and will result in approximately 2.5% of the City’s yearly consumption.

— San Marcos Daily Record

 

The Marshall News Messenger: Church community wins battle against Centerpoint; company withdraws plans to discontinue service

July 24 — A small, rural Harrison County congregation, who challenged Centerpoint-Entex’s request to the Railroad Commission to abandon natural gas service to 11 residents and two churches, has proved victorious as the natural gas giant recently withdrew its plans to discontinue service.

— Marshall News Messenger

 

San Marcos Daily Record: Kinder Morgan Filing Counter Lawsuit

July 23 — The ordinance, which aims to reduce risks of operations and development near transmission pipelines, was approved by city council on July 2. Kinder Morgan said in a statement that the City of Kyle’s ordinance attempts to hinder the construction and interferes with the company’s Permian Highway Pipeline project, which passes through the city.

— San Marcos Daily Record

 

KXAN: Kinder Morgan fires back at city of Kyle over safety ordinance

July 23 — Kinder Morgan, the company constructing the 430-mile, natural gas pipeline, filed a lawsuit Monday against the city of Kyle, claiming that a pipeline safety ordinance the city recently passed violates both federal and Texas law. It also calls for a pause to the enforcement of the city’s ordinance while this case is being sorted out in court.

— KXAN

 

Utility Dive: Duke Energy Renewables acquires 200 MW Texas solar project, largest in its fleet

July 24 –Duke Energy Renewables (DER) announced Monday an acquisition for a 200 MW solar project, which will be the largest in its fleet.

— Utility Dive

 

San Antonio Express-News: Morgan sues Austin suburb over anti-pipeline ordinance

July 22 –Houston pipeline operator Kinder Morgan has sued an Austin suburb over the passage of an ordinance that the company alleges aims to keep a proposed natural gas pipeline out of town, disrupting a project already registered with state regulators.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Utility Dive: Performance-based regulation: Seeking the new utility business model

July 23 — There are good and bad reasons for pursuing PBR, Pace Center for Energy and Climate Executive Director Karl Rabago told Utility Dive. “A bad reason is using PBR to allow a utility extra earnings while making it seem it is being held accountable for performance,” Rabago said.

— Utility Dive

 

Austin American-Statesman: Hays County, landowners make new bid to stop natural gas pipeline

July 20 — Hoping to stop construction of a 42-inch natural gas pipeline, Hays County commissioners, the Travis Audubon Society and three landowners have notified U.S. agencies and two pipeline companies that they intend to file suit alleging violations of federal law, including the Endangered Species Act.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

San Antonio Express-News: Flaring fight is the hands of Texas oil and gas regulators

July 19 — A fight between a pipeline operator and an energy company is putting natural gas flaring, a controversial byproduct of the shale oil revolution, into sharp focus.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

The Hill: Historic heat wave is double whammy for climate change

July 17 — In Texas, the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic and New England, states are facing historic heat advisories, with temperatures expected to reach into the 100s in some places.

— The Hill

 

Houston Chronicle: Calpine admits error that sent power prices soaring

July 22 — The Houston merchant power company Calpine has claimed responsibility for a data error that sent wholesale power prices spiking at the end of May and, according to an estimate from a commodity trading firm in Houston, cost consumers, industrial customers, power traders and retail electric providers more than $18 million.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Equinor chosen for NY offshore wind project

July 18 — Equinor, the Norwegian energy company, was awarded the winning bid in New York to build a 816-megawatt wind project 30 miles off the coast of Long Island.

— Houston Chronicle

 

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Opening electricity market may lower power bills in Florida. But it’d break up system as we know it.

July 19 — In Texas, average residential electric prices in deregulated areas have declined more than 23.74 percent during the 10-year period from 2008 through 2017, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.

— South Florida Sun-Sentinel

 

Austin Monitor: Austin Energy plans to purchase more wind energy

July 19 — The Electric Utility Commission unanimously recommended the approval of a new energy contract that would bring Austin Energy’s percentage of renewable energy up to 61 percent by the middle of 2021. That is only 4 percentage points below the City Council-approved goal of generating 65 percent of the city’s energy from renewable sources by 2027.

— Austin Monitor

 

Athens Daily Review: Oncor replacing power lines

July 18 — Oncor Electric Delivery is making changes to improve its service in sections of Athens over the next few weeks

— Athens Daily Review

 

Houston Chronicle: Renewable energy can’t keep Texans’ A/C humming [Opinion]

July 18 — Houston has recorded a half-dozen 95 degree-plus days so far this summer, and we’re weeks away from August, the hottest month of the year. Last year, the second hottest on record in Texas, included a 10-day stretch of triple-digit temperatures.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: Centerpoint Energy Requests Rate Increase For Houston Customers

July 17 — Centerpoint provides all of the city’s infrastructure that delivers energy to everybody in Houston, no matter which energy company you use. That’s why their request to boost rates by $188 million would affect the whole city.

— Houston Public Media

 

Bloomberg: A $2 Billion Gas Pipe Is Rare Flashpoint on Friendly Texas Turf

July 17 — A Kinder Morgan Inc.-led natural gas conduit is getting blowback in a place that’s so far been a refuge for the embattled pipeline industry: Texas. And it comes as drillers in the Lone Star state need pipeline space more than ever.

— Bloomberg

 

KVUE: Hays County continues battle against Kinder Morgan pipeline

July 17 — The Commissioners Court voted to join an appeal of the lawsuit against the pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission over its lack of oversight for the pipeline’s construction. The court has joined the other original plaintiffs in the appeal.

— KVUE

 

Houston Chronicle: Houston solar company Sunnova files for IPO seeking to raise $319 million

July 17 –Sunnova Energy, the Houston company that sells and installs residential solar systems, recently filed an initial public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise as much as $319.1 million by selling stock on public exchanges.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Wall Street Journal: Texas Showdown Flares Up Over Natural-Gas Waste

July 17 — Issue of burning off surplus gas exposes rift between frackers, pipeline companies.

— Wall Street Journal

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Hays County to join second legal action against Pipeline

July 16 — Commissioners voted July 16 to join the Travis Audubon Society and several private plaintiffs in filing a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Kinder Morgan—the company developing the project—in relation to the planned natural gas pipeline’s potential disruption of endangered species habitat.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Chronicle: Vistra closes deal to buy rival

July 15 — Vistra Energy, the Irving-based power company, announced it completed its purchase of onetime rival Crius Energy, the Connecticut retail power seller, in a deal that will make Vistra the nation’s biggest seller of residential electricity and expand its market share in Texas as the industry continues to consolidate.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KPVI: Texas’ sixth largest wind production in world costs taxpayers and consumers billions

July 16 — The state and some energy companies argue the implementation of wind energy from sparsely populated West Texas to the densely populated, higher energy using East Texas, was an unprecedented undertaking implemented by multiple stakeholders within a short timeframe.

— KPVI

 

Weatherford Democrat: TCEQ looking into subdivisions’ water issues after complaints

July 15 — After Western Lake Estates and Brazos Ridge Estates residents complained about multiple water issue notices from Monarch Utilities/SouthWest Water, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is currently investigating the situation.

— Weatherford Democrat

 

San Antonio Express-News (Opinion): CPS Energy should explore retiring the J.K. Spruce units

July 14 — CPS Energy has the opportunity and obligation to explore a bold move away from coal power and toward renewable energy that could save millions of dollars for ratepayers and prevent tons of pollution from harming San Antonio.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

San Antonio Business Journal: CPS Energy proposes buying more solar, gas power

July 11 — Details on how much it plans to buy and when it plans to do so are fuzzy.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

E&E News: Texas fight could ripple across U.S. grid

July 10 — Front and center is a new law in Texas — enacted as S.B. 1938 — that gives incumbent utilities first dibs on building new transmission lines.
Critics say the measure effectively cuts out new entrants, clashes with the state’s history of competition and could raise the costs of transmission projects that factor into consumers’ power bills. Proponents counter that the language preserves Texas’ approach to electricity and should help ensure reliability and affordability.

— E&E News

 

Texas Observer: Without Transmission Lines, Renewable Energy Still has a Long Way to Go

July 9 — In Superpower, author Russell Gold tells the story of a Houston businessman’s ambitious plan to transform the electric grid.

— Texas Observer

 

Utility Dive: Solar + wind + storage developers ‘gearing up’ as hybrid projects edge to market

July 9 — A “wave” of new projects is coming to use wind, solar, and battery storage in ways that will stabilize grids, increase efficiencies and lower power costs.

Utility Dive

 

Spectrum News: New Lawsuits in the Works After Permian Highway Pipeline Ruling

July 8 — Attempts to stop a massive natural gas pipeline project have come to a halt after a Travis County District Court dismissed claims that Kinder Morgan, the company behind the project, was usurping eminent domain laws.

— Spectrum News

 

Houston Chronicle Opinion: Houston, it’s up to us to tackle global warming
July 8: Houston, a leader in the fight against global warming? Don’t laugh. We have the know-how. We have the culture. And momentum is growing.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Utilities venture off power grid for home warranty revenue

July 8 — CenterPoint Energy has entered the home warranty market to sell a suite of products to cover the cost of gas line, water heater and sewer line repairs, a move that analysts say takes advantage of the Houston utility’s regulated monopoly as it competes with other companies selling similar products.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Antonio Express-News (Opinion): What’s the true cost of renewables?

July 7 — A recent study from Synapse Energy Economics (commissioned by the Sierra Club) claims that replacing the J.K. Spruce coal-fired power plant units owned by CPS Energy — San Antonio’s municipal utility — with wind and solar power “could benefit rate payers an average of $85 million each year from 2026-2040.”

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Spectrum News: Journals Publish Urgent Climate Change Research

July 5 — Two different journals on natural science say carbon dioxide emissions are out of control.

— Spectrum News

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Kyle adopts pipeline ordinance with new regulations for developers, Kinder Morgan

July 3 – Kyle City Council approved an ordinance July 2 that will affect both pipeline companies hoping to route projects through Kyle—including the controversial Permian Highway Pipeline slated to be built through the city—and developers with projects near those future pipelines.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

San Antonio Express-News (Opinion): A threat? Natural gas pipeline through Hill Country will be safe

July 4 — In a world of fake news and distrust of traditional media, it can be hard to tell fact from fiction.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: State mandates driving demand for renewables

July 4 — At least four states have boosted their goals for expanding renewable energy this year, joining several others that are directing power generators to produce more electricity from wind turbines, solar panels and other non-polluting sources.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Everything Lubbock: Xcel Energy to give refund to customers

July 3 — Xcel Energy has announced it will be giving its Texas customers $16 million worth of refunds. The refund would translate to $14 in credit on residential bills in October, if the Public Utility Commission of Texas approves, according to Xcel energy.

— Everything Lubbock

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Oreo maker signs on with Upton County solar farm

July 3 — Soon you’ll have the West Texas sun to thank for those treats. Mondelēz International, maker of Oreos along with brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, Milka and Toblerone chocolate, has signed a 12-year agreement to purchase power from Enel Green Power North America’s Roadrunner solar project in Upton County.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Paper City: Houston Ranks No. 1 in America in Renewable Energy Use — No, Really

July 2 — The City Government’s Remarkable Feat Defies the Odds With Ambitious Climate Action Plan.

— Paper City

 

Houston Chronicle: Say goodbye to another Texas coal-fired power plant

July 3 — Gibbons Creek Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant about 20 miles from Bryan, was already in mothball status, putting the state’s grid operator on notice earlier this year that it wouldn’t be running this summer. Now it’s closing for good.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Reform Austin: Texas Legislature fails to rename the Railroad Commission, obscuring agency’s true function

July 2 — A move to bring more transparency to Texas state government was snubbed again this year for the fifth consecutive session. House Bill 857, authored by State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas), sought to change the name of the Texas Railroad Commission to the Texas Energy Resources Commission to accurately reflect the function of the 128-year-old agency.

— Reform Austin

 

Dallas Morning News Contributor: Electricity storage could be the next technology

June 30 — Electricity is one of the few commodities or services that doesn’t depend on storage to sell and deliver its product to consumers. Food, oil, natural gas, beverages, clothes, gasoline and most other goods are shipped from the manufacturer to the consumer and stored at various points along the way.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Power Magazine: The EU’s Power Provisions and Texas

July 1 — While uncertainty will affect the EU market players, other deregulation experiments like ERCOT in Texas offer valuable insights to help them prepare. Similar to the EU’s directives, ERCOT is the result of thousands of working hours spent on careful planning and market design. ERCOT is an energy-only market (EoM) that relies on wholesale energy price signals and market demand to maintain supply, rather than strategic reserves or other capacity mechanisms. This is the same type of market the EU plans to adopt in 2021.

— Power Magazine

Victoria Advocate: Environmental group grades Crossroads legislators

June 29 — An environmental advocacy group recently praised Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s effort to fully fund state parks but said she and her counterpart in the Texas House could still be doing more to keep their constituents’ air and water clean.

— Victoria Advocate

 

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Xcel Energy plans $16 million Texas fuel cost refund; Hale Wind now on line

June 28 — Xcel Energy customers in Texas would receive a one-time, nearly $15 refund in October related to several months of lower costs for natural gas used to fuel area power plants if a proposal to state regulators is approved.

— Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

 

Dallas Business Journal: North Texas companies produced less than 12 percent of the state’s oil last year

June 28 — North Texas-based companies produced less than 12 percent of the state’s onshore oil last year, according to data from the Texas Railroad Commission.

— Dallas Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: Renewables surpassed coal for power production in April for first time

June 27 — Renewable sources such as wind and solar energy generated 23 percent of total U.S. electricity in April compared to coal which provided 20 percent, reflecting the long-term growth of renewable energy and the long-term decline in coal generation, the Department of Energy reported.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: More states vow 100 percent clean power

June 25 — Four states updated their renewable energy standards this spring, moves that will require power generators to supply more electricity from renewable sources over the coming years

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: Kinder Morgan Wins Texas Eminent Domain Challenge, And Wrongful Conviction Compensation Denied

June 26: Eminent domain in Texas, why a wrongfully-convicted death row prisoner was denied compensation, the latest developments in national, state and local politics, and the logistical challenges facing the concept of reparation. Plus, Ernie Manouse talks to Seth Andrew Bridges, who stars in the Alley Theatre’s production of The Three Musketeers.

— Houston Public Media

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Judge dismisses claims against Texas Railroad Commission, Kinder Morgan in Permian Highway Pipeline lawsuit

June 26 — After several weeks of deliberation, Judge Lora Livingston of the 261st District Court in Travis County released a ruling June 25 dismissing claims in a lawsuit brought against the Texas Railroad Commission, the state agency in charge of permitting oil and gas pipelines.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Platts S&P Global: As Texas temperatures rise, will ERCOT electricity prices boil over?

June 26 — This summer may be unlikely to get as hot as last year, but shrinking reserve margins continue to emphasize the possibility of surging summer prices. Taking into account increasingly tight reserve margins, upside under ERCOT’s recently revised shortage pricing formula, and higher dependence on wind generation, markets currently appear to understate that risk, S&P Global Platts Analytics forecast shows.

— Platts

 

KUT: What Led Zeppelin Can Teach Us About The Electric Grid In Texas

June 26 — This summer, there’s a higher likelihood than ever that Texas might not have enough electricity to go around. If you turn on the AC and nothing happens, you’ll want to know why. It helps to remember legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

— KUT

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Commissioners Lean Toward Elimination of “Small Fish Swim Free” Rule

June 27 — During a Texas PUC open meeting discussion of real-time co-optimization in the ERCOT market, the current “small fish swim free” rule in the market was criticized as several Commissioners questioned whether it should continue.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

KXII News: Monday’s earthquakes shake up parts of Grayson County

June 25 — The U.S. Geological Survey said the main cause of recent earthquakes in the central part of the country is due to disposal of waste fluids that are a byproduct of oil production. The Railroad Commission of Texas inspected two sites after a homeowner complained of damage from the quakes, however, they found no violations. Those are just two of hundreds of oil and gas well sites in the area near the quakes.

— KXII News

 

Houston Chronicle: Judge tosses out lawsuit against Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline

June 25 — A state district court judge has tossed out a lawsuit that sought to stop a Kinder Morgan pipeline from being routed through the Texas Hill Country.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Standard: A Modern-Day Spindletop: How One Entrepreneur Exemplifies The Renewable Energy Boom In Texas

June 25 –The new book, “Superpower: One Man’s Quest to Transform American Energy,” traces a Houston wind developer’s role in the Texas renewable energy boom. Austin-based Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold says Harvard graduate Michael Peter Skelly was looking for interesting work after building trams in Costa Rica.

— Texas Standard

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Denton City Council rejects renewable energy bids, climate action item

June 25 — The Denton City Council rejected the latest contract offers from wind farms and solar energy storage projects that would have helped the city reach its goal to be powered by 100% renewable energy by next year.

— Denton Record Chronicle

 

KFOX14: El Paso Electric says customers should see bills decrease

June 20 — El Paso Electric says customers could experience savings ranging from $4.57 to $5.43 over the four-month period, while large commercial customers will receive a one-time credit later this month.

— KFOX14/CBS4

 

Austin American-Statesman: Why Railroad commissioners broke with tradition and skipped over Ryan Sitton for top spot

June 21 — When Christi Craddick nominated fellow railroad commissioner Wayne Christian to replace her as chairman this week, she was breaking with tradition: The chairmanship of the three-person commission, which regulates oil, gas and mining activity, typically goes to the member soonest to stand for re-election — and Ryan Sitton is due up in 2020.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Daily Energy Insider: Texas PUC chairman thanks legislature for work related to state utility customers
June 24 — “Texas is an enduring example of the power of competitive markets to provide affordable, reliable electricity and the essential infrastructure that makes the state so livable,” Walker said. “The Legislature’s thoughtful approach to tackling these challenges shows their willingness to listen to key constituencies and forge broadly beneficial solutions.”

— Daily Energy Insider

 

CBS Austin: High temps placing extra demand on Texas electric grid

June 19 — On a day when the heat index spiraled into the triple digits, Oscar Grider hit the pool at Balcones District Park in search of a little relief for his family. “Bringing the grandkids, getting out of the heat. Right. Turning the air conditioner off for a little bit,” he said. The air conditioner gets a lot of use this time of year. “My kids like it about 76. I try to keep it around 78.”

— CBS Austin

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Texas cities plan to sue the state over a law that will slash telecom providers’ fees

June 24 — Fort Worth and cities across Texas stand to lose millions of dollars due to a new law that slashes fees telecom providers pay to them. But before the savings go into effect next year, it’s likely cities will challenge the legislation in the courts.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

KETK: Texans expected to set record for summer electricity usage

June 24 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says, this summer, the lone star state may use more energy than is currently available. According to their report, the state has a reserve margin of 9 percent, but is expected to need about fourteen.

— KETK

 

Houston Chronicle: New retail electric provider that also develops solar sites opens in Texas
June 21 — A South Korea solar project developer launched a new retail electric provider this week in Texas and announced it broke ground on a 150-megawatt solar generation facility in West Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Rooftop solar panels reaching saturation point, according to study

June 20 — Consumers like solar power, but fewer are putting solar panels on their roofs, creating opportunities for companies developing large-scale solar farms as well as utilities and retailers offering customers access to this electricity through solar-only plans.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Public Radio: Trump Administration Weakens Climate Plan To Help Coal Plants Stay Open

June 19 — President Trump has thrown his latest lifeline to the ailing coal industry, significantly weakening one of former President Barack Obama’s key policies to address climate change.

— Texas Public Radio

 

Dallas Morning News Editorial: With power outages, why is Texas waiting to write the rules on battery storage?

June 19 — The Public Utility Commissioners chose to punt the question to the Legislature, which generated a bill that came down on the right side. Batteries are to be part of the free market, not socialized and used only for reliability. A bill sponsored by Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, passed the Senate but the House ran out of time to vote on it.

— Dallas Morning News

 

CBS Austin: High temps placing extra demand on Texas electric grid

June 19 — On a day when the heat index spiraled into the triple digits, Oscar Grider hit the pool at Balcones District Park in search of a little relief for his family. “Bringing the grandkids, getting out of the heat. Right. Turning the air conditioner off for a little bit,” he said. The air conditioner gets a lot of use this time of year. “My kids like it about 76. I try to keep it around 78.”

— CBS Austin

 

KXAN: Craddick no longer head of Texas Railroad Commission

June 19 — Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick’s run as the chair of the state’s oil and gas regulator ended Tuesday. By a unanimous vote, commissioner Wayne Christian became the commission’s 50th chairman.

— KXAN

 

KVUE: Austin City Council passes resolution opposing pipeline through Hill Country

June 19 — The 430-mile pipeline would run from West Texas to Katy near Houston, crossing over the Trinity and Edwards aquifers.

— KVUE

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas heading into summer with lowest level of U.S. power supplies

June 18 — The North American Electric Reliability Corp, a non-profit group based in Atlanta, said that Texas is the only region in the Lower 48 states where the anticipated reserve margin of 8.5 percent is lower than the region’s reserve margin goal. Electricity in Texas is managed by the state’s grid manager the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Wayne Christian elected as Railroad Commission chairman

June 19 — Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian has been unanimously elected as chairman of the state agency, which regulates the oil and natural gas industry in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KUT: Texas Poised To Become National Leader In Solar Power

June 19 — Solar power continues to grow in Texas, new research finds, and that growth is due in part to another renewable energy the state has in abundance: wind.

— KUT

 

Florida Phoenix: Proposed constitutional amendment on Florida consumer “energy choice” gets fire from all sides

June 18 — “There is no guarantee that the Legislature is going to implement this in a way that is actually good for consumers, and good for some of the things that we’re really interested in, like renewable energy and energy efficiency. So that’s a complete black hole,” says Stephen Smith, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s executive director.

— Keep reading here.

 

Houston Chronicle: Pressure on companies to announce wind, solar deals

June 17 — Businesses are increasingly sensitive about climate change concerns and reducing their carbon footprint while keeping an eye on cutting costs, according to a survey of 600 companies by the New York-based consulting firm Deloitte.

— Keep reading here.

 

Bloomberg Opinion: Don’t Buy the Wrong Electricity

June 17 — In electric power futures, for instance, there are various different regional electricity markets, each with its own futures contracts. There are different contracts for different expiration dates. There are different contracts for different times of day: There’s a contract for peak power, and another for off-peak power. You have to pick all the right specifications, and you have to do it all quickly, many times a day, while constantly being distracted by a stream of other information.

— Read here.

 

Forbes: The Paradox of Declining Renewable Costs and Rising Electricity Prices

June 17 — Most energy observers recognize that the cost of renewable energy has declined dramatically in the last decade. The investment firm Lazard produces a periodic report on the average cost of generation from different electric power sources – the “levelized cost of electricity” in energy geek parlance.

— Read more here.

 

Victoria Advocate: After renewable energy tax credit survives legislative session, companies look to locate in Crossroads

June 15 — Roger Duncan, a research fellow at the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, said with solar getting down to 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt hour, companies won’t need the tax breaks for long.
“We have the same potential for solar development in Texas as we had for wind development when that started 10 years ago and, in fact, in much of the same areas,” he said.

— Read more here.

 

Waco Tribune-Herald: Local electric co-ops ink deal for seven solar farms

June 15 — Electricity buyers include the Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative, which serves 23,000 meters to the northwest and southeast of Waco, including the communities of Crawford, Valley Mills, McGregor, Moody, Lorena and Lott.

— Read more here.

 

CBS DFW: 15,000 Oncor Customers Remain Without Power, Storms Brought ‘Complete Devastation’

June 12 — Around 15,000 Oncor customers still remain without power after Sunday’s powerful storms blew through the metroplex. One of the most affected areas is north Dallas.

— View the report here.

 

S&P Global Platts: Xcel’s Southwestern Public Service coal generation mix at 14% in April

June 12 — Southwestern Public Service Company’s coal generation mix was at 14.01% in April, while its natural gas/oil mix was at 23.4%, according to a regulatory filing published Wednesday.

— Read more here.

 

Houston Chronicle: High cost, performance concerns keeps consumers from installing solar

June 11 — Consumer interest in installing rooftop solar panels is waning, according to a study by the New York consulting firm Deloitte, which surveyed 1,500 consumers nationwide on energy management.

— Keep reading here.

 

Reuters: Erratic weather boosts energy demand, denting climate goals

June 11 — Extreme temperatures around the globe drove a sharp acceleration in energy demand and carbon emissions last year, oil giant BP said on Tuesday, issuing a stark warning that the world risks losing the battle against climate change.

— Keep reading here.

 

CBS DFW: More Than 111,000 Oncor Customers Still In the Dark

Jan 11 — Powerful storms that blew through North Texas not only caused a deadly crane collapse in Dallas, but downed power lines that to date still have thousands of people in the dark.

— See the video here.

 

The Paris News: Sitton seeks re-election to state railroad board

June 11 — Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton announced his campaign for re-election Monday. Sitton will be the top state official on the Texas ballot in 2020.

— Keep reading here.

 

Houston Chronicle: Coal production goes mostly to electricity generation

June 11 — Nearly all the coal the nation produced last year was used to generate electricity in the United States. Very little – less than 1 percent – was imported, according to the Department of Energy.

— Keep Reading Here

 

Lubbock Online: Xcel Energy lowers fuel costs for Texas customers

June 10 — Xcel Energy will reduce residential customers’ bills by 5% starting in July.
The energy provider has filed an application with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to update the formula by which fuel charges are figured, and to lower the monthly fuel charge that is known as the fuel cost factor.

— Keep Reading Here

 

NBC DFW: Oncor Warns Dallas Damage Equivalent to Tropical Storm

June 10 –Grant Cruise, with Oncor Electric, says the damage done by Sunday’s storm is equivalent to what they’ve seen with tropical storms.

— Find out more here.

 

KFYO: TEXAS RAILROAD COMMISSIONER RYAN SITTON ANNOUNCES RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN
June 10 — Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton joined The Chad Hasty Show on Monday to discuss his future political plans. Sitton told KFYO that he will be running for re-election to the Texas Railroad Commission and that he wants to travel across Texas to discuss the principles of the Republican Party and what it means to be a Republican.

— Find the Interview Here.

 

CBS DFW: Facebook Invests $416 Million To Build Solar Project In Texas

June 11 — It is believed to be one of the largest solar projects in the nation and Facebook is building it in West Texas. The Prospero Solar project in Andrews County, just north of Odessa, will have a capacity of 379 megawatts, which is enough to power around 72,000 homes based on the national average, the Solar Energy Industries Association said.

— Read more here.

 

Houston Chronicle: Cheap construction, government targets, lots of wind spur wind development

June 10 — Lots of wind, cheap construction costs and government targets to boost the percentage of power generated from renewable sources gave several states, including Texas, an incentive to invest in wind generated power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

The Liberty Hill Independent: PIPELINE OPPONENTS WATCHING HAYS COUNTY SUIT

June 9 — As area residents gather information and look for ways to avoid having a 42-inch oil pipeline project cut through wide swaths of their property here in Williamson County, they also have one eye on a lawsuit in Travis County District Court they hope might bring some relief.

— The Liberty Hill Independent

 

KPRC TV: Multiple workers injured in gas line explosion in Santa Fe

June 6 — Intense flames poured into the night sky hours after a gas line explosion in Santa Fe left multiple contract workers injured near Avenue M and 24th Street.
“Turned around and locked my door and all of a sudden I heard the gas go off and I looked over my shoulder and I saw the tarp they had just flying around,” Charles Dickson, who lives nearby and heard the explosion, said.

— KPRC TV

 

Houston Chronicle: EV stations: Another reason to stop at Walmart

June 7 — Electric vehicle owners will have a new reason to visit Walmart as they travel across America: Not only can they stock up on snacks and drinks but they can get electric charges.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Don’t want to install solar panels? Vistra has a plan

June 7 –Vistra Energy of Irving, the second biggest retail seller of electricity in Texas, is offering customers an all-solar retail electricity option.
All of the energy will come from solar farms, including Vistra’s Luminant Upton 2 Solar Power Plant in Upton County in West Texas about 50 miles south of Midland. The plant has 180 megawatts of capacity, enough to supply nearly 28,000 Texas homes during hot summer days.

— Houston Chronicle

 

S&P Global Platts: Heading into summer, California power forwards soar, ERCOT reserve margin narrows

June 7 –Last summer, ERCOT saw record power demand, while California power prices reached an all-time high. With another summer coming up, S&P Global Platts senior pricing specialists Kassia Micek, Kelli Ainsworth and Jeff Zhou discuss ISO summer load and resource expectations and July and August forward prices.

— S&P Global Platts

 

The Monitor: Valley braces for withering temps as high as 111

June 6 — Power companies in the Valley are watching the weather, but as of now aren’t anticipating any strain on the region’s electrical grid. “Yes, it will be a crazy weather forecast for South Texas,” said Luis Reyes, spokesperson for Magic Valley Electric Cooperative in Mercedes. “As of right now, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) has not issued any emergency alerts about grid conditions. We will see a rise in energy demand over the next few days, but ERCOT is forecasting normal conditions on the grid.”

— The Monitor

 

San Antonio takes $7.3M budget hit due to state law giving cable companies fee relief

June 5 — San Antonio’s budget next year will take a $7.3 million hit, thanks to a bill the state Legislature passed that relieves some fees for telecommunications companies.

— San Antonio Express News

 

Houston Chronicle: Facebook signs solar deal in West Texas

June 6 — Facebook, the Silicon Valley social networking service, is making its first direct investment in a renewable energy project through a solar farm in West Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Fox 7 News: Georgetown businesses in need of employees following lengthy evacuation

June 6 — With the gas leak evacuations over in Georgetown, businesses off Williams Drive are dealing with a different kind of problem, a lack of employees. Along with customers, many of the around 70 impacted businesses lost employees during the evacuation.

— Fox 7 News

 

Hays Free Press News-Dispatch: Judge delays pipeline lawsuit ruling

June 5 — A Travis County District Judge plans to take approximately two weeks before deciding the fate of litigation against Kinder Morgan and the Texas Railroad Commission.

— Hays Free Press News-Dispatch

 

Dallas Morning News: Power surge accompanies mysterious blue light in sky over Dallas

June 5 — An Oncor spokesperson told NBC5 that the electricity provider’s equipment recognized a “flickering of electricity” in portions of northeast Dallas County at 10:39 p.m., but that no one lost power. There were no reports of transformer explosions, Oncor told the station.

— Dallas Morning News

 

NBC DFW: What Was That Blue Light Over Dallas County?

June 5 –People living on the east side of Dallas County reported seeing a strange blue light in the sky Tuesday night.

Oliver Mathis captured the light on his dashcam while driving eastbound on Interstate 635 in Dallas Tuesday night. The blue glow lasted for only a few seconds.

— NBC DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: Oil and gas pipeline company buys solar energy for operations

June 5 — Canadian Solar, a solar generating company based in Canada, announced it signed a 15-year deal to provide solar power to Dallas-based oil and gas pipeline company Energy Transfer, the first time for Energy Transfer to sign a dedicated solar contract.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Dallas pipeline firm, beer brewer sign up to buy Texas-made solar power

June 4 — Energy Transfer and Anheuser-Busch inked 15-year deals Tuesday to buy power from the 2,000-acre solar farm to be built in Pecos County by Recurrent Energy, the U.S. development arm of Canadian Solar Inc. The new facility, near the towns of Fort Stockton and McCamey, is the size of 1,500 football fields and will produce 650 gigawatt hours of energy a year — enough to power 62,000 homes.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Texas Climate News: Texas Legislature hints at climate change without saying its name

May 29 — This is, for the most part, a roll call of the damned, the abandoned, the disappeared.

Bid farewell, without your ever having met them, to the Texas Global Climate Change Commission, the Texas Climate Change Mitigation & Adaptation Commission, the Texas Climate Impact Assessment Council, Texas State University’s water conservation study, Texas A&M’s state climate preparedness study, the climate sections of state agency strategic plans and the state Climate Action Plan.

— Texas Climate News

 

Dallas Morning News: The Texas electric grid is about to test our commitment to free markets (Opinion)

June 4 — Up until now, the answer has been that Texas has its own grid and uses market forces to manage both its supply and demand of electricity. Now, however, regulators are ringing a not-so-small warning bell about what might lay ahead for the Lone Star State’s approach to electricity. While Texas has more than enough generating capacity to meet expected demand this summer, it now lacks sufficient over capacity to make those who manage our grid comfortable as they worry about demand spiking above anticipated levels or unforeseen mechanical mishaps.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Midland Reporter Telegram: Free markets, infrastructure give Texas cleaner power grid (Opinion)

June 3 — Since deregulation, wind power output in Texas has grown more than 1,600 percent, and today provides nearly 20 percent of our state’s generation capacity. Texas is not only the largest wind producing state; if it were its own country, it would be the fourth largest producer in the world.

— Midland Reporter Telegram

 

Glen Rose Reporter: Texas power cooperatives agree to purchase solar energy

June 3 — Five electric distribution cooperatives in Texas have signed agreements to purchase seven megawatts of distribution-scale solar generation, aimed at providing an increased supply of cost-effective and clean energy to their members while increasing local system resilience.

— Glen Rose Reporter

 

KRPC: It’s getting hot out there! Here’s how Houstonians can keep cool this

May 31 — The cooling centers provide a place where residents can chill out and minimize home electricity usage while enjoying free snacks, water and entertainment.

— KPRC

 

Associated Press: Atmos Energy settles house explosion suit after girl’s death

May 31 — Atmos Energy has settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family of a 12-year-old girl who was killed in a 2018 natural gas explosion at her home in northwest Dallas.

— Associated Press

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Christi Craddick celebrates RRC’s appropriations

June 3 — The 86th Texas Legislature has come to an end, and its main accomplishment, the state’s two-year budget, House Bill 1, awaits Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Spectrum News: Georgetown Celebrates Businesses Re-Opening After Devastating Gas Leak

June 2 — The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce hosted a re-opening celebration for businesses affected by a months-long gas leak Saturday.

— Spectrum News

 

Everything Lubbock: Major Texas-New Mexico power link completed (News Release)

June 2 — Xcel Energy has completed a vital transmission connection across the New Mexico-Texas line that is boosting power delivery capabilities in an area of strong economic growth. Work is now complete on the Yoakum-to-Hobbs 345-kilovolt transmission project, a 64-mile electric transmission line between the Yoakum County Substation near Plains, Texas, and the Hobbs Substation northwest of Hobbs, N.M. The new line connects with a segment of 345-kilovolt line built last year from Hobbs to the China Draw Substation southeast of Carlsbad, N.M.

— Everything Lubbock

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Andrews to be site of 4,600-acre solar farm

June 1 — A 4,600-acre solar farm will soon make its way into Andrews County, initiated by Longroad Energy, which partnered with Facebook and Shell Energy North America. Longroad, a U.S. renewable energy developer, announced Thursday the financial close and start of construction of the Prospero Solar project – what will be one of the largest solar farms in the United States – with expectations of a 2020 completion date.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Dallas Morning News: Atmos settles lawsuit with family of 12-year-old Dallas girl killed in 2018 gas explosion

May 31 — Atmos Energy has settled a lawsuit with the family of a 12-year-old girl who was killed last year in a natural gas explosion at a northwest Dallas home.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Judge to decide fate of anti-eminent domain lawsuit aimed against Kinder Morgan

May 31 — A state district judge in Austin will decide the fate of an anti-eminent domain lawsuit aimed against the route of Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline.

Houston Chronicle

 

Platts: US cities claiming 100% renewable power may quadruple in 2019

May 30 — The population of cities receiving all of their power from clean or renewable resources will more than quadruple in 2019, if the cities meet their commitments, which industry observers acknowledge present significant challenges.

— Platts

 

KUT: 3 Big Takeaways For Texas Energy And The Environment From This Year’s Legislative Session

March 31 — The 2019 legislative session saw fights over renewable energy, climate resilience and pipeline construction. Now that the dust is settling on the field of battle, what do the results tell us about Texas lawmakers’ priorities for energy and the environment?

— KUT

 

Bloomberg: A CEO Council on Climate Change? That Sounds Familiar

May 24 — Big business has launched yet another initiative to curb carbon emissions. Things just might be different this time.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Centrica CEO happy to come in third

May 24 — The retail electricity market in Texas is undergoing consolidation as the biggest players gobble up smaller rivals. The pecking order hasn’t changed in the shuffle – Houston and New Jersey-based NRG Energy is still the biggest, selling under brand names like Reliant Energy and Green Mountain Energy, while Irving-based Vistra Energy remains No. 2 with its TXU Energy brand. British-owned Centrica, owner of Direct Energy, comes in third.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: After pipeline blast killed Dallas 12-year-old, Texas lawmakers pass bills to prevent gas explosions

May 26 — Natural gas pipeline operators would be required to remove some of the most dangerous pipes in Texas under a bill headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk that was spurred by the death of a Dallas 12-year-old last year.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Austin Monitor: Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today

May 28 — Attorneys for Hill Country landowners along with the city of Kyle and Hays County have prepared for a fight this morning with lawyers for Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission over the route of the proposed natural gas pipeline and whether the commission has lived up to its constitutional responsibility in overseeing Kinder Morgan’s exercise of its power of eminent domain.

— Austin Monitor

 

Houston Chronicle: As Trump talks infrastructure, power lines remain a hard sell

May 24 — A nationwide network of high-voltage power lines connecting wind farms in gusty regions such as West Texas with cities on the West and East Coasts has long loomed large on the wish list of wind developers.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Marcos Corridor News: Lawsuit Against Kinder Morgan, Texas Railroad Commission To Attend First Hearing

May 24 — Hays County, the City of Kyle and a coalition of impacted landowners filed the lawsuit on Monday, April 22, in the Travis County district court.

— San Marcos Corridor News

 

Houston Business Journal: NRG Energy buys retail electricity and natural gas business for $300M

May 23 — The all-cash deal will grow the company’s market share in Texas and other states.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Valley Morning Star: Energy, water-saving items receive sales tax break

May 23 — Customers taking advantage of the state’s Energy Star and Water-Efficient Products sales tax holiday will save an estimated $12.6 million in sales taxes by purchasing this weekend, the Texas Comptroller’s Office claims.

— Valley Morning Star

 

Utility Dive: Utilities have multiple ways to drive lower energy use — on Pecan Street, only price matters

May 23 — For utilities looking to influence customer energy use — shifting demand to off-peak hours, for instance — there is a growing body of research that concludes the simplest solution is price. That may seem obvious, but the findings contrast with programs that rely on social cues and call for conservation in an attempt to manage customer demand through “behavioral demand response.”

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: South Texas Nuclear Project Gets Federal Money for Fire Protection Study

May 24 — The Department of Energy is awarding $1.2 million in federal funding to the STP Nuclear Operating Co. near Bay City which is about 90 miles southwest of Houston to develop fire protection techniques for use in the nuclear industry.

— Houston Chronicle

 

CBS4 Valley Central: Valley cities fighting possible electricity rate increase

May 22 — As of this week, San Benito has joined other cities together with a law firm to negotiate with AEP to make sure customers don’t end up paying more for electricity.

— CBS4 Valley Central

 

Houston Chronicle: Five Texas power co-ops buy solar contracts

May 23 — Saturn Power will sell power to the cooperatives through 20-year power purchase agreements. The buyers include Bartlett Electric Cooperative and Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative which are both north of Austin; Comanche Electric Cooperative which is southwest of Dallas-Fort Worth, PenTex Energy which is north of Dallas-Fort Worth and South Plains Electric Cooperative which is south of Amarillo.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: NRG Energy advances retail expansion with $300M Stream Energy acquisition

May 21 — NRG Energy has agreed to purchase Stream Energy’s retail electricity and gas business, a move that will add more than 600,000 residential customer equivalents and expand NRG’s market share in Texas, Pennsylvania and other markets.

— Utility Dive

 

Associated Press: NRG buying electric, natural gas units of Stream Energy

May 21 — The company announced the cash deal on Monday. The proposed acquisition of Stream Energy faces regulatory approval. The purchase is expected to close later this year.

–Associated Press

 

Austin American-Statesman: Senate OKs extension of tax abatement program that benefits renewable energy

May 21 — The Texas Senate voted Tuesday to extend a tax abatement program that has contributed to the growth of wind energy in the state.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Houston Chronicle: USGS confirms four earthquakes in the Eagle Ford Shale

May 21 — Environmentalists blame the tremors on saltwater disposal wells, which inject wastewater generated in the hydraulic fracturing process and other oil and natural gas activities deep underground.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Hays County, Kyle, landowner lawsuit against railroad commission questions pipeline oversight

May 20 — Though the installation of the pipeline will clear hundreds of trees from his property and render it nearly impossible to develop the highway frontage, Roesch quickly learned that his choices in opposing the pipeline’s path across his land were limited. In Texas, private oil and gas pipeline companies have historically been given the authority to choose routes and to exercise the power of eminent domain to acquire land for that route—in other words, to take the land even if the owner does not want to part with it.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Business Journal: NRG Energy buys retail electricity and natural gas business for $300M

May 20 — Stream serves more than 600,000 residential customer equivalents in nine states and Washington, D.C., and the deal is expected to increase NRG’s market share in Texas, Pennsylvania and a number of other markets in the eastern U.S., per the release. A residential customer equivalent is an industry term for the typical yearly consumption by a single-family residential customer, with one RCE representing 1,000 therms of natural gas or 10,000 kWh of electricity, the release explains.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG buys another power retailer

May 20 — The Texas retail electricity market just shrunk again with the announcement that NRG Energy, the Houston- and New Jersey-based power company, is buying the retail power and natural gas business of Dallas-based Stream Energy in a $300 million all-cash deal.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Rio Grande Guardian: Starr County, known for wind energy, is branching into solar

May 17 — Starr County is about to get a major solar energy project, county leaders say.

The name of the company involved in developing the 3,000-acre solar farm has yet to be named. However, negotiations are at an advanced stage.

— Rio Grande Guardian

 

S&P Platts: FERC summer outlook flags California, Texas as posing potential reliability problems

Nay 16 — Even with the West, Southwest and Northeast regions of the US expected to experience higher than average temperatures this summer, staff in FERC’s offices of Electric Reliability and Enforcement found the power system to generally be in a better position than last year, they said in their annual summer assessment of reliability and the natural gas and power markets.

— S&P Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: Sempra Energy buys stake in Sharyland Utilities

May 17 — The company will continue to operate as an independent transmission utility with ownership divided between entities controlled by Sempra Energy and the other half by entities controlled by Hunter L. Hunt, the founder of Sharyland, and other members of the Hunt family.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: How the Texas power grid braces against rolling blackouts as summer heat looms

May 16 — It’s been decades since state power reserves were as depleted as they are now, according to Texas regulators — forcing them to contemplate the worst-case scenario this summer: rolling blackouts.

— Dallas Morning News

Texas Standard: When It Comes To Developing Offshore Wind Power, Northeastern States Will Likely Surpass Texas

May 16 — Texas excels in developing technology for its terrestrial wind turbines, but the state’s wind industry is far from expanding offshore because of the dominance of natural gas fracking.

— Texas Standard

 

Hays Free Press News-Dispatch: Kinder Morgan files motion to dismiss eminent domain lawsuit

May 15 — Kinder Morgan officials also said the lawsuit “ignores the fact” that the PHP’s eminent domain rights derive from the Texas Constitution and the Texas Legislature. Officials cited more than $14 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties were paid by the oil and natural gas industry.

— Hays Free Press News-Dispatch

 

Austin American-Statesman Opinion: Through grandmother’s house it goes – Kinder Morgan’s pipeline, that Is

May 15 — The state’s Utilities Code “has mandated that the Railroad Commission must establish rules for the “full control and supervision of the pipelines…in all their relations to the public.”

— Austin American-Statesman

 

S&P Global: Renewable energy capacity in Texas REC program grew by almost 10% in 2018

May 15 — Total capacity in Texas’ voluntary Renewable Energy Credit program, including facilities outside the Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint, increased by about 2.6 GW, or almost 10%, between 2017 and 2018, but industry observers differ over whether such growth may continue.

— S&P Platts

 

Fox 7– ERCOT expecting high demand on electric grid this summer

May 14 — – It’s not unusual for Texas summers to hit the triple digits and at that point everyone cranks the home A/C. That’s when demands at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas go up.

— Fox 7

 

Fox 4: Texas power grid expects record electricity usage this summer

May 14 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has announced slimmer than ever margins between supply and forecasted demand for this summer.

— Fox 14

 

Texas Standard: Even In Texas, Renewable Energy Comes On Strong

May 13 –As the use of coal declines in the U.S. and abroad, more and more energy upstarts in Texas are harnessing wind and solar power.

— Texas Standard

 

Houston Chronicle (editorial): Support Texas’ renewable energy future

May 12 — Ask a non-Texan to think of Texas and, chances are, the opening credits to the old TV show “Dallas” — featuring cattle, cowboys and oil derricks pumping away — will flash before his or her eyes.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Fox 4: Atmos Energy seeks natural gas rate hike in Dallas

May 6 — Atmos says it’s for safety-related pipe replacements. The city asked the company to speed up replacement of old pipes after a natural gas explosion killed a 12-year-old girl in February 2018.

— Fox 4

 

NBC DFW — Dallas Rejects Atmos Energy Rate Hike Request

May 8 — The Dallas City Council Wednesday rejected a $10 million rate hike request from Atmos Energy. The vote was 14-1. The increase would have raised the average Dallas home customer bill by $3 a month.

— NBC DFW

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas regulators seal Oncor’s nearly $1.3 billion power line deal with Hunt family

May 10 — Oncor and its majority owner, San Diego-based Sempra Energy, reached a deal in October to buy the Hunt family-owned InfraREIT. Texas regulators’ approval was the final signoff needed to complete the $1.275 billion deal.

— Dallas Morning News

 

CBS DFW — Texas Power Grid Manager Expects To Avoid Summer Blackouts

May 8 — ERCOT predicted that demand will rise as high as 74,853 megawatts, or 1,300 megawatts higher than the record set last July 19. The peak demand record was more than 70,000 megawatts. A single megawatt is enough to power 500 homes during normal conditions and only 200 homes during peak demand.

— CBS DFW

 

WBAP: North Texas Cities Deny Oncor Electric Increased Rates

May 10 — Adrienne Loghery with the City of Colleyville says they denied this request at this week’s council meeting and weren’t the only North Texas city to do so.

WBAP

 

Copperas Cove Herald — Copperas Cove City Council to oppose Oncor rate increase

May 10 — Copperas Cove is part of a steering committee of over 140 other cities Texas served by Oncor that work together on any rate cases. Killeen, Harker Heights, Belton and Temple are also part of the steering committee.

— Copperas Cove Herald

Brazosport Facts: Commission needs to protect residents by weighing options (Editorial)

May 12 –Clean water and air, safe living conditions, electricity — everyday folks look toward their cities and governments to ensure these basic needs are met and affordable.

— Brazosport Facts

 

San Antonio Express-News: No crystal ball for CPS Energy; it must do what is prudent

May 12 — At that time, climate change was not in our everyday vernacular. Coal, natural gas and nuclear were our only diversification until we made the first purchase of wind-generated power out of West Texas.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: Not as much coal-fired power this summer but more natural gas

May 10 — The nation’s power generators will use less coal this summer and more natural gas, reflecting the recent closure of coal-fired plants around the country .

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: ‘Atmos has an obligation’ to give customers gas detectors, says Texas burn victim who’s suing

May 7 — Other Texans who’ve filed recent lawsuits against Atmos — including the Lemus family, whose northwest Dallas home was destroyed in February 2018, and a survivor of an explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital in Waco that killed three — say they didn’t smell gas before the explosions that injured them.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Fox 4: Dallas council votes down Atmos request for natural gas rate hike

May 8 — Atmos actually supported the Dallas City Council’s no vote because it allows them to start the appeal process and take up their case with the Texas Railroad Commission. The commission is a state agency known to typically approve rate hikes like the one Atmos requested.

— Fox 4

 

NBC-DFW: ERCOT Expects Texas to Avoid Summer Blackouts

May 8 — Before blackouts are ordered, however, Woodfin said ERCOT would add generation capacity, import power from grids outside the state, and ask consumers to conserve electricity.

— NBC DFW

NBC DFW: Atmos Energy Rates Being Reviewed by Dallas City Council

May 5 — Atmos Energy is asking the City of Dallas for a $10.1 million rate increase as it continues to replace aging metal pipelines across the city.

— NBC DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas moves closer to regulating power brokers

May 6 — The Texas House Committee on State Affairs approved the consumer protection measure last week after it cleared the Texas Senate last month, according to legislative records. It is expected to go next to the Texas House for a vote.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Renewable energy growth stalled last year

May 7 — Growth in renewable power stalled last year around the world, an unexpected development that raises questions about whether the world can meet ambitious climate goals to reduce greenhouse gases from fossil fuels.

–Houston Chronicle

 

Killeen Daily Herald — Killeen City Council to discuss proposed Oncor rate increase and annexations

May 4 — Killeen is a member of Oncor’s Steering Committee of Cities, a group of municipalities that “efficiently and in a cost effective manner review, and respond to electric issues affecting rates charged in Oncor’s service area,” according to city reports.

— Killeen Daily Herald

 

Austin American-Statesman: Cost of Georgetown evacuations still unknown

May 4 — Atmos Energy has replaced nearly a half-mile of pipeline after a natural gas leak in Georgetown, but the energy company will not say how much it expects to pay homeowners who stayed in hotels for up to nine weeks or businesses that were closed for that length of time.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Brazosport Facts: Cities band together to scrutinize CenterPoint Energy proposed rate increase

May 6 — Brazoria County cities are joining forces to revive the Texas Coast Utilities Coalition and the Gulf Coast Utilities Coalition, both formed around 2009 to advocate cities’ utility interests in Austin, to ask for a review of CenterPoint Energy’s proposed rate increase.

— Brazosport Facts

 

Houston Business Journal: NRG plans to return Corpus Christi plant to service

May 2 — The plant ceased operations in late 2016 because its cogeneration partner, Sherwin Alumina, filed for bankruptcy. Now that certain issues related to that bankruptcy have been resolved, the Gregory plant should be able to return to service as a combined-cycle facility in early June, per the release.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Abilene Reporter News: AEP Texas files request to adjust rates charged to electric providers

May 2 — AEP Texas filed a request Wednesday with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to adjust transmission and distribution rates charged to retail electric providers that could positively affect what customers in the Abilene area pay per kilowatt hour.

— Abilene Reporter News

 

Smithsonian: For the First Time, Green Power Tops Coal Industry in Energy Production in April

May 2 — The analysis, based on data collected by the Federal Energy Information Administration, doesn’t mean green energy is now dominant. Wamsted writes that the spring is usually the best time for renewable energy. Because the demand for energy from furnaces and air conditioners is low, many coal plants go temporarily offline for repairs and maintenance. Spring runoff also gives hydropower an annual boost. It will likely be years before renewables surpass coal on an annual basis.

— Smithsonian

NRG earnings up, points to higher power prices

May 2 — NRG Energy announced Thursday that it expects to restart its mothballed 385-megawatt natural gas plant in Corpus Christi early next month after Texas regulators gave generators the green light earlier this year to charge higher prices during times of peak demand.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Bill would stop Texas cities from barring solar panels

May 3 -The solar industry has run into obstacles over the past few years as it tries to convince Texans to install solar panels to generate their own electricity. The industry has battled homeowner associations that don’t want panels in their neighborhoods, doesn’t benefit like it does in other states from laws that require utilities to buy excess power and faces restrictions from some cities, especially in the Dallas area, that prohibit the panels on rooftops.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Hays Free Press: Bill aimed at pipeline routing oversight reaches committee

May 1 — House Bill 3327, authored by State Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) was laid out in the Land and Resource Management Committee April 25. If approved, HB 3327 would require pipeline operators with eminent domain authority to send a written notice of intent to county judges before contacting landowners. This notification would initiate a process for the county commissioners to exchange information with the operator about public infrastructure, planned developments, site-specific safety concerns, and environmental sensitivities.

— Hays Free Press

 

KFYO — Ryan Sitton talks Texas pipelines, the Railroad Commission’s role

April 29 — Hasty and Sitton discussed what the Railroad Commission does during a Legislative Session, the timeline of creating a pipeline and the lack of pipelines in the state.

— KFYO

 

Houston Chronicle: Renewables represent one-third of global power production

May 1 — Renewable energy, especially wind and solar power, is become more popular globally, with 171 gigawatts of renewable power sources added last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, an intergovernmental group based in the United Arab Emirates that supports development of renewable energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Evacuations lifted for all but one business in Georgetown after gas leak

April 29 — Only one business- a funeral home- remained evacuated Monday in Georgetown after a gas leak in late February caused dozens of businesses to close and homeowners to evacuate their homes for several weeks, according to an Atmos Energy spokeswoman. The Cook-Walden Davis funeral home was still evacuated, said Celina Fleites, a spokeswoma for Atmos Energy.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Forbes: Why Your Next Car Might Come From The Electric Company

April 30 – Electric utilities have a better understanding of consumers’ personalized energy data than any other company. As the CEO of a company that works with dozens of utilities around the world to transform their customer data into business intelligence using machine learning and artificial intelligence, I’ve seen this firsthand.

–Forbes

 

Utility Dive: ERCOT energy groups square off on what’s to blame for reliability concerns

April 30 — Attack on renewables incentives as the cause of reliability issues offers a “study ’em all!” compromise

–Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Duke to sell 1.2 GW, $1.25B in renewables assets

April 26 — The assets, owned and operated by Duke Energy Renewables and with an enterprise value of approximately $1.25 billion, will be sold to John Hancock Infrastructure Fund (JHIF) and John Hancock Life Insurance Co., both divisions of Manulife Financial.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Hot summer could provide glimpses into the future of electricity markets and prices

April 26 — ERCOT, the electric grid that covers most of Texas, is heading into summer without much room for error, but the anticipated high prices should offer a glimpse into the electricity market’s future.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Lawmakers want to cut cable TV fees, but cities say you won’t see savings

April 26 — Said Snapper Carr, an attorney representing the Texas Coalition of Cities for Utility Issues: “Anyone that believes that the consumer is going to see a benefit from this, I would say there’s probably some ocean-front property in Arizona I’d like to talk to you about.”

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Axios: Why Texas lags in rooftop solar

April 27 — Texas is among just 2 states that don’t force power companies to buy surplus power from residential projects (also called “net metering”).

— Axios

 

Houston Chronicle: New wind projects set records

April 28 — The Washington-based trade group American Wind Energy Association reported that developers announced plans to build new wind farms with a total capacity of nearly 6,150 megawatts during the first three months of the year, more than the total current capacity of wind generation in California.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Cleburne Times-Review: Rate hike fight

April 26 — Council members passed a resolution denying Oncor’s request to increase distribution rates. Oncor recently requested a $29.4 million increase from cities in their service area.

— Cleburne Times Review

 

Houston Chronicle: Silverlake homeowners testify on property loss from CenterPoint towers

April 25 –A group of homeowners in Silverlake, an unincorporated community near Pearland, testified this week at the Texas House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence about how their property values have dropped since CenterPoint Energy erected giant steel utility towers along an easement that slices through the neighborhood.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Breitbart: Trump Admin Opposed to Texas Energy Bill as ‘Antithesis’ of America First Energy Policy

April 25 — The Donald Trump administration continues to oppose a Texas energy bill they believe would stifle competition, raise prices, and run counter to President Trump’s America First energy policy.

— Breitbart

 

Retail Energy X — Texas Senate Passes Bill Requiring Study Of Impact Of Renewable Subsidies

April 25 — The Texas Senate has passed SB 2232, which provides that the PUC shall require the ERCOT independent system operator to identify and study the ongoing effects that federal renewable energy subsidies have on the pricing, reliability, and efficiency of the electric power market in the ERCOT power region.

— Retail Energy X

 

Houston Chronicle: Duke sells stake in renewables to mutual fund, insurance company

April 25 — Duke Energy, the North Carolina-based power company, announced a deal to sell a minority interest in its commercial renewable energy portfolio to a Canadian-owned financial services and insurance company.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Railroad Commission, Kinder Morgan sued over route of Permian Highway Pipeline

April 22 — Hays County, the city of Kyle and a coalition of Hill Country landowners have filed a lawsuit to fight the route of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Permian Highway Pipeline and challenge how the state agency that regulates the oil and gas industry allows companies to use eminent domain laws.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KLTV: Luminant releases statement about fatality at Stryker Creek plant

April 23 — Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell said there had been an accident at the power plant, but would not give details as to what happened.

— KLTV

 

CBS News: How a conservative Texas town became a leader in renewable energy

April 29 — But the decision to go green was “purely a business decision,” Ross said – an economic decision with environmental benefits. Ross said city officials signed contracts with solar and wind facilities that provided cost certainty for more than 20 years and mitigated the risk of governmental regulations on different forms of energy.

CBS News

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Hays County, Kyle, landowners file pipeline-related lawsuit against Kinder Morgan and Texas Railroad Commission

April 22 — Oil and gas pipeline companies in Texas historically have been afforded the power of eminent domain, which means as long as landowners are compensated, their land can be taken even if they do not want to sell it. That authority—stemming from a provision in the state constitution and delegated by the Legislature—dates back to the building of the railroads, which were considered “common carriers” undertaking projects for the public benefit.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Chronicle: Cheap wind power distorting power market pricing, leads to legislative interest in study

April 23 — Renewable energy developers receive federal subsidies to build solar farms and wind farms, incentives that have helped spur so much wind development over the past few years that abundant wind energy from West Texas has made Texas among the cheapest states for power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Dallas Rep. Anchia wants justice for girl killed in Atmos gas explosion

April 19 — The challenge is daunting, with only two of the bills gaining any traction. He’s up against a multibillion-dollar industry that lends its campaign support to Anchia and many of his colleagues in the Capitol, as well as a state agency that is deeply entrenched into Texas’ oil-and-gas-fueled economy — the 10th largest in the world.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Texas Monitor: Austin buying back biomass plant at a painful price

April 19 — The city in 2012 signed an unusual 20-year, $2.3 billion contract with Southern Power to operate the plant. In the first year, however, the plant generated electricity for just a few months. It has been idle for much of the time since, but was kept fully staffed in case its power potential was needed.

— Texas Monitor

 

San Antonio Express-News: More green energy, but coal stays in the mix for San Antonio CPS

April 19 — City-owned CPS plans to double its reliance on wind and solar to 40 percent of its power generation in the next two decades, CEO Paula Gold-Williams said in an interview last week.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Dallas Morning News (contributor): Texas Broadband Bills Go To Vote This Week

April 20 — Many energy pundits continue to warn of a pending Armageddon of high electricity prices and unreliable grids if anyone dare venture too far down the path toward greater renewable power generation. There’s just a tiny problem with those claims: The data do not support them.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Texas Public Radio: Texas Broadband Bills Go To Vote This Week

April 22 — More Texans than the population of San Antonio lack broadband internet access, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Fifteen million Texans don’t use broadband speeds, according to a new Microsoft study. Two bills aimed at closing the digital divide in rural communities could be voted on as early as this week.

— Texas Public Radio

 

Energy Choice Matters: ERCOT Warns Of Fraudulent Emails Spoofing ERCOT Address

April 19 — ERCOT issued a market notice stating that, on April 18, 2019, ERCOT received reports that some Market Participants have received fraudulent emails using a spoofed email address appearing to come from ERCOT.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Houston Chronicle: Cooler weather will cut power costs for households this summer

April 18 — Cooler than usual temperatures are expected to lower electricity bills for U.S. households this summer. But higher electricity rates will eat up some of that savings as utilities pass along the cost of investments they’re making to expand transmission and generation capacity.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Austin buys troubled power plant for $460M

April 19 — The city of Austin has purchased an East Texas renewable power plant for $460 million as a means to escape from a punitive contract.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

 

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Agree To Maintain ERCOT Price Adder

April 18 — During today’s open meeting, Commissioners of the Public Utility Commission of Texas agreed that the operating reserve demand curve and the real time reliability deployment price adder should remain in place in the ERCOT market even when the low system wide offer cap (LCAP) is triggered (when peaker net margin is reached)

— Energy Choice Matters

 

KXAN: Hill Country pipeline opponents are taking Kinder Morgan to court

April 17 — On Tuesday, Hays County Commissioners and the Kyle City Council stepped up their efforts to combat the project, and unanimously opted to take Kinder Morgan and the Texas Railroad Commission to court over the project and the oversight — or lack thereof.

— KXAN

 

Houston Chronicle: New wind project for West Texas

April 18 — French owned-Engie North America announced it started construction on a wind project in Andrews County north of Odessa in West Texas, the company’s fifth wind project in the past year.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Lufkin Daily News: Lufkin City Council to review rate increases proposed by CenterPoint Energy

April 17 — The Lufkin City Council postponed the rate increase proposed by CenterPoint Energy on Tuesday for 45 days until city officials can determine if the rate increase is appropriate.

— Lufkin Daily News

 

San Antonio Express-News: Energy use hits record high last year

April 16 — The Department of Energy reported that overall energy use reached 101.3 quadrillion British thermal units in 2018, an increase of 4 percent from the previous year and 0.3 percent higher than the earlier record set in 2007.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Dallas Morning News: Starbucks turns to solar energy from Cypress Creek to power its Texas stores

April 15 — Starbucks is investing in solar farms across Texas as part of an effort to save an additional $50 million in utility costs over the next 10 years.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas REPs, Industrials Seek Reduction Under Real-Time Co-optimization

April 16 — Several Texas retail electric providers and industrial customers sought a reduction in the ERCOT system-wide offer cap (SWOC) under implementation of real-time co-optimization (RTC) in ERCOT.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

RTO Insider: Oncor-Sharyland-Sempra Deals Inch Toward Approval

April 14 — PUC staff, the Office the Public Utility Counsel, Alliance for Retail Markets, Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor, Texas Energy Association for Marketers, Texas Industrial Energy Consumers and Hunt Consolidated were parties to the agreement. ERCOT, the city of Lubbock, Golden Spread Electric Cooperative and the Texas Cotton Ginners Association do not oppose the revised stipulation.

— RTO Insider

 

CBS Austin: Atmos Energy asks for more money from customers during Georgetown evacuations

April 12 — Now, Atmos Energy is requesting more money from customers in their Mid-Tex Division, which includes some Georgetown evacuees.

— CBS Austin

 

Houston Chronicle: Biomass fuel expansion has ended

April 15 — Electricity generated from wood and other waste products was on a roll for a 10-year stretch beginning in 2004. But since 2014, when power production from biomass peaked at 71.7 megawatt hours, expansion has come to an end, the Energy Department reported.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Politico: House Democrats launch probe into EPA officials’ ties to utilities

April 11 — The House Energy and Commerce Committee is launching an investigation into whether top EPA officials violated ethics rules by launching a rollback of air pollution regulations that benefited their former lobbying clients in the electric utility sector.

— Politico

 

KHOU: Do you really need a gas line insurance plan?

April 11 — In some cases, the coverage you have may even be better. For example, accidents are not covered through the CenterPoint policy.

— KHOU

 

Houston Chronicle: Wind turbine techs and solar installers among nation’s fastest growing jobs

April 11 — The wind power industry added 8 percent more capacity last year, enough to power 30 million U.S. homes. Much of that growth was in Texas which supplies about 25 percent of the nation’s total capacity, according to the Washington, D.C.-based wind trade group American Wind Energy Association.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG executive cautions Senate on clean energy subsidies

April 11 — A top executive at NRG Energy warned the Senate Thursday against committing to clean energy policies that inherently favored one technology over another.

+— Houston Chronicle

 

Bloomberg: Oil Producers Are Burning Enough ‘Waste’ Gas to Power Every Home in Texas

April 10 — America’s hottest oil patch is producing so much natural gas that by the end of last year producers were burning off more than enough of the fuel to meet residential demand across the whole of Texas. The phenomenon has likely only intensified since then.

— Bloomberg

 

Hays Free Press News-Dispatch: Pipeline bill survives first hearing

April 10 — House Bill 3324, authored by Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood), is in direct response to the proposed 42-inch natural gas pipeline by Kinder Morgan, which will cut through a major portion of the Hill Country and Hays County. HB 3324 was taken up by the Texas House Committee on Natural Resources.

— Hays Free Press News-Dispatch

 

San Antonio Business Journal: San Antonio named top solar-powered Texas city

April 10 — The Alamo City had nearly 187 megawatts of installed solar capacity at the end of last year, making it the seventh-ranked city in the country and the number one city in the state last year, according to a report compiled by Environment Texas.

— San Antonio Business Journal

Texas Standard: How The Oil And Gas Industry Isn’t Backing Down Amid Growth In Wind Power

April 11 — Lobbyists are challenging the value of subsidies Texas gives to wind-power companies. It’s part of a larger effort to weaken the renewable-energy industry.

— Texas Standard

 

Houston Chronicle: CenterPoint seeks rate increase

April 5 — CenterPoint Energy, the Houston regulated utility, filed a request Friday with Texas regulators and cities in its service area to boost electricity delivery rates $161 million, an amount that would raise electricity bills $2.38 a month for customers using 1,000 kilowatt hours of power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Fight over wind power rises up in Texas

April 5 — The Texas Public Policy Foundation, with annual revenue approaching $20 million, launched a barnstorming effort over the past year and recently has produced videos to criticize the renewable energy industry. This legislative session, according to Texas Ethics Commission filings, the foundation has employed more than 20 of its staffers as lobbyists, paying them as much as $395,000, to target renewable energy subsidies, among a range of bills that align with the group’s small government focus.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

KXAN: Evacuation area shrinks, frustrations remain for Georgetown gas leak

April 5 — Atmos representatives met with residents and business owners Thursday night. They reiterated that the soil remains the biggest hindrance because it’s not letting the gas trapped underground evaporate quickly. Trenches throughout the neighborhoods and strategically-placed machines are helping to pull the gas out of the ground.

— KXAN

 

CBS DFW: Texas Lawmakers To Consider Bills Aimed At Preventing Deadly Gas Explosions

April 7 — On Monday, three bills aimed at trying to prevent future tragedies like this will be heard in a Texas House committee.

— CBS-DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas is nation’s No. 1 carbon dioxide emitter

April 2 — Texas has set another record: The Lone Star state emits more energy-related carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere and increases worldwide temperatures, than any other state, according to the Department of Energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KUT: Battle Over Renewable Energy Takes Shape At The Texas Capitol

April 2 — Starting in the ’90s, the state and federal governments set up subsidies to encourage wind farms. Local communities also offered tax breaks. Most crucially, Texas built out transmission lines from windy parts of the state to urban centers like Dallas and Houston. That meant the electricity generated in the West could move across the state.

— KUT

 

Houston Chronicle: Power retailers reach limit of deregulated markets

April 3 — Texas and 15 other states give consumers responsibility for choosing their own retail electricity providers and the retail electric industry would like to see that number expand. But it’s not likely to happen anytime soon as electric utilities fight against giving up their monopolies and federal regulators show little inclination to force states to deregulate their electricity markets.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: As 100% renewables goals proliferate, what role for utilities?

April 2 — The momentum behind demand for renewables is growing; utilities lose if they ignore it and there is much to gain in planning ahead.

— Utility Dive

 

Laredo Morning Times: Offshore wind for Texas about a decade away

April 1 — The waters off the Gulf Coast could be an attractive place to install offshore wind farms. The winds are decent and there’s plenty of space but at the moment, electricity prices in Texas are low, thanks to cheap wind coming from West Texas wind farms, and aren’t high enough to justify the expense of engineering and building off the coast.

— Laredo Morning Times

 

San Antonio Express News: Atmos Energy developing salt dome storage in East Texas

April 1 — Its subsidiary, Atmos Pipeline Texas, filed permit applications with the Railroad Commission for two storage wells by recompleting a previously existing vertical well at the site and drilling a new vertical well down to a depth of 6,207 feet on its Bethel Salt Dome lease in Anderson County.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Harker Herald Heights: Heights council moves forward on curfew ordinance

March 29 – In other business, the Council approved participation with the Atmos Cities Steering Committee that protects the authority of municipalities over the monopoly natural gas provider and defends the interests of residential and small commercial customers.

— Harker Herald Heights

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas businesses building more power supplies

March 29 — Texas is heading into summer with a growing supply of privately-generated electricity, reflecting the surge of small-scale power generators that businesses have been installed to provide their own back-up power and make money when prices spike during extreme weather.

— Houston Chronicle

 

CBS DFW: State Commission Rejects Proposal To Stop Estimated Billing By Atmos Energy, For Now

March 26 — A petition filed by the Atmos Cities Steering Committee went before the Railroad Commission Tuesday morning. The rule change suggests Atmos should read meters every month instead of estimating bills.
— CBS DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: Natural gas is more popular than ever for power

March 27 — Consumption of natural gas set a new record last year, reflecting increased demand from natural gas fired power producers and bouts of extreme weather.
— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Standard: Two Bills Aim To Bring Broadband To Rural Texas

March 26 — Waco Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson wants the state to establish an office within the Public Utility Commission that would coordinate the state’s efforts to facilitate high-speed internet access in remote areas.

— Texas Standard

 

Houston Chronicle: Nuclear power woes extend to Texas

March 23 — But as the economics of nuclear power in this country continue to slide, even the futures of the South Texas Project, near Bay City, and Comanche Peak, located 60 miles southwest of Dallas, are far from certain.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Waco Tribune: Rep. Anderson files bills to move needle on rural broadband access

March 24 — The proposals call for the creation of a broadband office in the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the establishment of a grant program to support public or private broadband investment. Anderson’s plan would also include coordination between the broadband office and the Texas Department of Transportation and require reports to the Legislature about the office’s progress.

— Waco Tribune

 

San Antonio Express-News: Climate change expert says Texas must brace for change

March 24 — His predictions about the future, under a scenario of greenhouse gas emissions remaining high, were at times ominous: a seven-degree Fahrenheit rise in the average global temperature by 2100; cities such as Miami, perhaps Houston, ravaged by hurricanes and sea level rise; families and businesses struggling to pay higher utility bills; and intense flooding turning neighborhoods into blighted areas.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: Texans don’t have much incentive to invest in home solar

March 25 — States with aggressive renewable energy goals such as California and Arizona are among the nation’s leaders in installing residential solar energy. But not Texas, which has been slow to adopt residential solar panels, according to a study by the Federal Reserve of Dallas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: More nuclear plants close but we get more power than ever from them

March 25 — Power generation from nuclear power reached 807.1 million megawatt hours last year, slightly more than the previous peak of 807.0 million megawatt hours in 2010, the Department of Energy reported.

— Houston Chronicle

 

CBS DFW: How To Read Your Gas Meter

March 25 –The Atmos Cities Steering Committee says utilities should only charge customers for the gas they use. But would you be able to tell if your gas bill was off?

— CBS DFW

 

CBS DFW: State Agency To Hear Arguments For Ending Estimated Gas Bills

March 25 — The Atmos Steering Committee, which negotiates on behalf of 150 cities in Texas, is proposing Atmos read meters every month.

— CBS DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: Consumers like breweries the best. Utilities? Not so much, survey finds

March 20 — Nationwide, consumer satisfaction scores of utilities owned by investors and municipal governments fell 2.7 percent over the past year, according to the Michigan-based American Customer Satisfaction Index, which measures satisfaction with 400 companies and 46 industries each year from interviews with 300,000 consumers. Companies and industries are rated on a scale from 0 to 100.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Dallas family sues Atmos Energy for more than $1 million after gas explosion forced them to ‘start over again’

Marcy 18 — His father, also named David Lemus, had gotten out of bed a few minutes earlier, woken by a popping sound. The 49-year-old man traced the noise to the HVAC unit in the attic, where he noticed the pilot light was out and the HVAC cover was on the floor.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: California has the most clean energy jobs but Texas is No. 2

March 19 — Texas has 233,000 clean jobs, with about 163,000 in energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, energy-efficient lighting and energy-efficient appliances. Another 18,000 Texans make and sell electric vehicles. Another 25,000 Texans work in the wind industry and 11,000 work in solar energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Evacuations related to gas leak continue for a fourth week in Georgetown

March 18 — For the fourth week in a row, a number of homes and businesses remain evacuated in an area of Georgetown because of a natural gas leak.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Fox 7: Businesses taking big hit as gas leak evacuation continues

March 15 — More then 60 businesses and more then 70 homes evacuated. Crews continue to work on getting the natural gas which leaked into the ground and there’s still no word from Atmos Energy on when people and businesses can return.
— Fox 7

 

Dallas Morning News: Here’s a guide to companies that help you shop for electricity in Texas.

March 15 — In an honest world, you wouldn’t need to hire a company to help you shop for electricity. It’s ridiculous that our Texas system is so poorly regulated that assistant electricity shoppers are needed.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Power retailers see opportunity in backyard power generators

March 15 — Now the trend is accelerating as companies increasingly see the value of building reliable sources of power in their backyards, not only to keep the lights on when natural disasters strike, but also to make money when electricity is in short supply and wholesale prices are high.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: Perry Talks Of New Energy Era In America, Commends Texas For Growth Of Renewables

March 13 — Perry, the longest-serving Texas governor who held the office from 2000 until 2015, commended the growth of renewable sources of energy in the Lone Star State. “Texas now produces 15 percent of its total energy from wind and solar,” he said. “That is more, percentage wise, than our friends in Europe.

— Houston Public Media

 

Houston Chronicle: Companies are increasingly making their own power

March 13 — About 25 percent of companies have already invested in on-site generation with solar power and co-generation which combines heat and power, according to a survey of about 1,000 companies by Centrica, the British-based company that owns Direct Energy, the third biggest seller of electricity in Texas. Another 32 percent are planning to invest in solar power during the next two years while 30 percent are considering co-generation investments in combined heat and power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

The Madison Meteor: City remains on Atmos Steering Committee

March 12 — The Atmos Cities Steering Committee is an organization that represents cities and towns in natural gas supply pricing and other issues raised when dealing with a monopoly supplier. Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corp. supplies natural gas utilities to Madisonville and many other areas. The company ranks as one of the largest gas providers in the country, with more than three million customers.

— Madison Meteor

 

CBS DFW: Federal Officials Digging Deeper Into Deadly Natural Gas Explosion In Dallas

March 12 — As officials with the Army Corps of Engineers and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continue to investigate how the blast happened, and are set to collect soil samples in the alley and around the neighborhood where young Linda “Michellita” Rogers died.

— CBS DFW

 

Texas Standard: How Greater Reliance On Wind And Solar Means Texas’ Power Grid Is Less Nimble During Summer

March 11 — With just nine days until the official end of winter, temperatures all across Texas are certainly springlike. Highs are hovering in the 60s and 70s in many cases. But that also means summer is just a few months away, and so are high electricity bills that come along with cranking up the air conditioning. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, warns that consumers will likely demand more power than ever from the grid

.— Texas Standard

 

Austin American-Statesman: Georgetown evacuations continue for third week after natural gas leak

March 11 — The evacuation of 64 businesses and 57 homes in Georgetown due to the results of an initial natural gas leak continued Monday, according to a news release from Atmos Energy. The company would not say when it planned to lift the evacuation order, which started Feb. 20.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Houston Chronicle: Bills filed to protect homeowners near transmission projects

March 12 — A bill introduced in the Texas Legislature could make it easier for homeowners near utility easements to recover damages if projects, such as transmission towers, depress property values.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Renewables cheaper than expected while bio-fuels costs are higher

March 11 — The cost of developing and producing renewables like wind and solar power has fallen much faster than the energy industry ever expected, Maarten Wetselaar, director of integrated gas and new energy director for Royal Dutch Shell told hundreds of energy executives during a panel discussion on fuels of the future at CERAWeek by IHS Markit.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Gas leak evacuation in effect for 61 businesses, 42 homes in Georgetown

March 8 — Atmos Energy officials said the gas leak has been fixed, but crews are still working to remove natural gas that remains in surrounding soil. The company is also “performing additional leak surveys and using mobile leak detection units mounted on cars, as well as foot patrols,” as well as “repairing underground leaks and replacing sections of pipeline as needed,” according to a March 7 announcement from the city of Georgetown.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

CBS DFW: Feds Set To Test Soil At Site Of Deadly Dallas House Explosion

March 8 — Engineers wil begin testing the soil at the explosion site. Turning on her gas stove still makes Elodia Gutierrez nervous. She lives on the street where the explosion killed Linda Michellita Rogers and sent four others to the hospital.

— CBS DFW

 

Denton Record Chronicle Guest Editorial: Railroad Commissioner Sitton inadequately addresses climate change

March 9 — We could also deny drilling permits when gas from a startup well is destined to be flared for more than an initial 10 days. Standard practice should not be to grant 45-day permits with additional 180-plus-day extensions, prolonging exposure of harmful emissions to nearby communities. In the third quarter of 2018, the Permian flared an average of 407 million cubic feet per day, equivalent to the daily exhaust of 2.7 million cars. Last year, flaring hit a new record on your watch, Mr. Sitton.

— Denton Record Chronicle

 

KXAN: State agency investigates Atmos Energy over Georgetown gas leak

March 7 — The Railroad Commission of Texas is investigating Atmos Energy after a natural gas leak in Georgetown stretched into a second week and led to even more evacuations.

— KXAN

 

KLRU: The Conservative Texas Mayor Leading the Charge With Renewable Energy Talks About the Green New Deal

March 7 — Although the push has helped create a windfall of free PR, according to its mayor, there have also been challenges. The Austin American-Statesman reported last month that the av

 

erage Georgetown energy bill had risen by almost $13. But city leaders told FRONTLINE the increase was a standard power cost adjustment, not a problem specific to renewable energy. “If we had … gone with a gas contract or a coal contract, we would still be in a similar or same position,” Morgan said.

— KLRU

 

Austin American-Statesman: Evacuations continue in Georgetown after natural gas leak

March 6 — Annette Robinson, who provides personal care at her home for three women with Alzheimer’s disease, said Atmos Energy workers knocked on her door at 10 p.m. Monday, telling her that her family and the patients had to evacuate immediately.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Reuters: Texas power grid expects record demand this summer, alerts more likely

March 5 — ERCOT said its current planning reserve margin is a historically low 7.4 percent. The reserve margin is the difference between total generation available and forecast peak demand, with the difference expressed as a percentage of peak demand.

— Reuters

 

Gainesville Daily Register: State lawmakers introduce bills in attempt to bring better internet access to rural areas

March 5 — Senate Bill 1103 and House Bill 2423 create a broadband office within the Public Utility Commission of Texas that would provide grants to public or private entities for projects that stimulate the installation and maintenance of broadband in rural areas, according to a news release from AARP. The bills also authorize the PUC to set statewide goals for broadband deployment, coordinate various local and state governmental efforts, act as an information clearinghouse on the issues and be empowered to seek federal funding.

— Gainesville Daily Herald

 

KTXS: Gas trapped in soil following leak forces evacuations in Georgetown

March 5 — According to a spokesperson from Atmos Energy, the area’s natural gas distribution company, the initial leak has been fixed but gas remains trapped in the soil, threatening nearby buildings.

— KTXS

 

Corpus Christi Caller-Times: Construction of Texas’ largest solar farm gets underway near Midland

Feb. 27 — The company’s 497-megawatt-hour Roadrunner solar project in Upton County, near Midland, will be built in two phases, and is expected to generate around 1.2 terawatt hours annually when it’s fully operational.

— Corpus Christi Caller-Times

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Worried about blackouts this summer? Texas could set new electricity records

March 5 — “I think the good news is ERCOT has done a really commendable job of keeping the lights on,” said Jake Dyer, a policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which buys electricity for cities across the state.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: State mandates for renewables is driving new wind, solar power projects

March 4 — State mandates that require power generators to produce an increasingly larger percentage of power from clean sources is driving development of renewable energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Energy Choice Matters: ERCOT Says High Demand And Tight Reserves May Result In Energy Alerts This Summer

March 5 — The declaration of an alert by ERCOT allows it to call on resources that are only available during scarcity conditions. These resources include demand response products, resources that are normally set aside to provide operating reserves (including contracted load reduction from some industrial facilities), additional generation or imports from neighboring regions and voluntary calls for conservation by consumers.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG reports $268 million in profits last year with higher prices, more demand for power

Feb. 28 — NRG president and chief executive officer Mauricio Gutierrez said on a conference call with analysts Friday that the company is stronger than ever, calling it a “streamlined cash flow machine.”

— Houston Chronicle

 

El Paso Times: Stock market decline lowers El Paso Electric’s 2018 profit to $84.3 million

Feb. 28 — Those declines were mostly tied to the $23 million, fourth-quarter loss in the company’s Palo Verde nuclear plant investment fund, which will be used to pay for the eventual closure, or so-called decommissioning, of the Arizona nuclear plant in the distant future.

— El Paso Times

 

Houston Chronicle: Direct Energy sued for robo calls to cell phones
Feb. 28 — A resident in the East Texas town of Mabank has sued British-owned Direct Energy, the third biggest seller of electricity in Texas, for allegedly making repeated calls to her cell phone to collect debt she does not owe in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Greentech Media: Corporates May Be Leaving Millions on the Table by Procuring Wind Over Solar in ERCOT

Feb. 27 — A solar power-purchase agreement in ERCOT territory could be $24 million more profitable, so why are corporates buying wind?

— Greentech Media

 

Dallas Business Journal: Oncor nets half a billion in profits, refunds $60M from tax cuts

Feb. 27 — When Oncor’s regulator, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, negotiated a rate increase two years ago it factored in the possibility of an additional windfall the company could receive from a pending corporate tax cut being considered by Congress at the time. According to a public filing earlier this month, Oncor refunded roughly $60 million to its 3.6 million customers in December

— Dallas Business Journal

 

NBC DFW: Gas Meters Line North Texas Roadways Sparking Concerns of Leaks, Explosions

Feb. 27 — Crash data from the Texas Department of Transportation showed throughout the state vehicles ran into gas meters more than 3,600 times during an eight-year period, from 2010 to 2018.

— NBC DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: Saving electricity through more efficient light bulbs

Feb. 26 — U.S. households use an average 1,105 kilowatt hours of electricity each year to light their homes, accounting for about 10 percent of total power use, according to the Department of Energy.

— Houston Chronicle

 

USA Today: Defunct solar panels after Hurricane Maria. Texas company hit with more than 400 complaints, investigation finds

Feb. 26 — After Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico’s power grid and plunged the island into 11 months of darkness, local leaders and activists vowed to start shifting the Caribbean island toward distributed renewable sources, like solar power, and energy independence.

— USA Today

 

Austin American-Statesman: Why Georgetown’s green energy gamble didn’t pay off

Feb. 23 — After the county seat of traditionally conservative Williamson County opted to go big on renewable energy a half-dozen years ago, its mayor was exalted by climate activists and liberal icons.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Texas PUC lets electric companies jack up bills with unregulated fees, report says

Feb. 23 — The Watchdog prayed that someone in the universe could confirm the complaints of thousands of Texans that electricity companies bamboozle us with excessive and ridiculous fees.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Jeffrey Skilling released after 12 years in prison for role in Enron scandal

Feb. 22 — Jeffrey K. Skilling, the former Enron CEO who spent the past 12 years in prison for his role in masterminding one of most notorious corporate fraud cases in history, was released from federal custody on Thursday, the Bureau of Prisons said.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Vistra Energy agrees to pay more to acquire rival after unsolicited offer

Feb. 21 — Vistra Energy, the Irving-based power company, thought it had a deal this month when it bought a Connecticut retail power company for $328 million, a sale that would make Vistra the nation’s biggest seller of electricity.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Developer eyes world’s largest solar+storage facility for Texas

Feb. 19 — Renewable energy developer Intersect Power has floated plans to construct 495 MW of energy storage next to 495 MW of solar in Borden County, Texas, according to the January generation interconnection status report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Vistra Energy agrees to pay more to acquire rival after unsolicited offer

Feb. 21 — Vistra, which sells power under the TXU brand, said Wednesday that it would pay an additional $50 million to buy Crius, raising its price to $378 million for the company that sells power in Texas under several brand names including TriEagle Energy, Energy Rewards and Viridian Energy. Vistra also agreed to assume Crius Energy’s debt of $108 million.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Victoria Advocate: Texas oil and natural gas industry paid more than $14 billion in taxes, royalties in 2018

Feb. 17 — The Texas oil and natural gas industry paid more than $14 billion in state and local taxes and state royalties in fiscal year 2018, up 27 percent from fiscal year 2017, and the second-highest total in Texas history, according to a Texas Oil and Gas Association news release.

— Victoria Advocate

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Still in the dark on Georgetown’s energy situation? Here’s a primer

Feb. 16 — This year, the city needs to avoid a similar situation to the $6.84 million shortfall in the amount of money that was expected to be left in the electric fund budget for Georgetown Utility Systems at the end of the city’s last fiscal year on Sept. 30.
Officials attributed the shortfall to price and demand volatility in Texas’ wholesale energy market and on the structure of the city’s renewable energy contracts.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Public Media: Texas Electricity Consumers Face Too Many Hidden Fees, according to Report

Feb. 18 — A consumer advocacy group recommends regulators do more to help consumers choose the right electricity plan.

— Houston Public Media

 

Dallas Morning News: Electricity shopping could get even more difficult if these Texas leaders get their way

Feb. 15 — Websites will pretend they are neutral but, without disclosing their backers, sites will steer you to companies that secretly pay for the leads.

— Dallas Morning News

Bloomberg: World’s Biggest Battery to Boost Solar in Texas Oil Country

Feb. 13 – The 495-megawatt storage system would be built in tandem with a solar farm of the same size in Borden County, Texas. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc., which operates most of the state’s grid, posted the details in a chart that shows the state’s battery storage will surge more than sixfold to 584 megawatts when the projects are completed in 2021.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity not Growth Industry

Feb. 15 — Consumers and businesses won’t be using as much electricity in the next three decades as they’ve used in the past three decades, thanks to more energy efficient lighting, appliances and heating and cooling systems.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: For Calpine, going private means no more pesky stock analysts

Feb. 15 — Calpine struggled with lackluster earnings, slumping stock prices and the changing economics of electricity markets. So in came a group of investors led by the New Jersey private equity firm Energy Capital Partners. They acquired the company in March in a deal valued at nearly $17 billion, including the assumption of Calpine’s debt.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Waco Tribune-Herald: Atmos failed to keep odor in gas before deadly hospital blast, according to lawsuit

Feb. 14 — A worker injured in the Coryell Memorial Hospital explosion last June is suing Atmos Energy Company, claiming the natural gas firm failed to maintain the “rotten egg” odor that would alert them to a dangerous leak.

— Waco Tribune-Herald

 

Killeen Daily Herald: Victim of Gatesville hospital explosion sues Atmos

Feb. 14 — A Waco-based law firm announced this week it has filed suit against Atmos Energy Corporation on behalf of one victim who suffered “severe, debilitating,” third degree burns from the June explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital.

— Killeen Daily Herald

 

Texas Monitor: Georgetown newspaper says mayor threatened editor over coverage

Feb. 13 — The mayor allegedly confronted the editor of the paper and told her he would use his political heft to deny advertising revenue to the paper if it continued to report on residents’ rising electric bills. Some are blaming those bills on poor planning regarding the renewable move.

— Texas Monitor

 

Houston Chronicle: Citigroup buys wind power credits

Feb. 14 — Citigroup, the New York City-based bank, announced it is buying wind credits from a wind power project near Corpus Christi in San Patricio County to supply power to the bank’s operations in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: AEP to buy Sempra Renewables for $1B, more than doubling wind assets

Feb. 13 — Sempra Energy’s non-utility operating subsidiary owned all or part of seven wind farms and one battery installation, and three of AEP’s operating units currently have power purchase agreements with two of the wind projects. The deal contributes to AEP’s goals to reduce carbon emissions 60% below 2000 levels by 2030.

— Utility Dive

 

Forbes: New Report Details Record Texas Oil Boom In 2018

Feb. 13 — A new report issued on Monday by the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) asserts that 2018 was an all-time high for oil production in the state of Texas. In its 2019 State of Energy Report, TIPRO notes that “[2018] oil production in Texas totaled a record 1.54 billion barrels (bbl) in 2018, surpassing a previous record of 1.28 billion bbl set in 1973.”

— Forbes

 

Houston Chronicle: Solar industry is growing in Texas, bucking US trend

Feb. 12 — Nearly 10,000 Texans were working in the solar industry last year, an 8 percent gain from the previous year, the solar advocacy group Solar Foundation reported.

–Houston Chronicle

 

Platts: Two new 100-MW utility-solar units expected in the Permian Basin

Feb. 11 — The Duke Energy Renewables project, announced February 8, is the 100-MW Lapetus Solar Energy Project that is slated for Andrews County, Texas. Duke has acquired the Lapetus project from developer 7X Energy and said in a February 8 statement that construction of the facility is expected to begin before the end of March and is scheduled to begin operations by the end of this year.

— Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: The fastest growing job in Texas is wind turbine technician, data projects

Feb. 8 — Renewable energy will provide the most job growth for Texans in the next few years, employment projections show.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Fox4 Beaumont: How much is possible rate increase for Entergy customers?

Feb. 7 — Customers started receiving a notice in the mail at the end of 2018. It details how and why Entergy Texas made a Transmission Cost Recovery Factor filing (or TCRF) with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

— Fox4

 

Austin Business Journal Viewpoint: Texas needs to stay on track for clean energy

Feb. 7 — The Texas Legislature has an opportunity this session to build on that momentum by staying the course on electricity policy and current ERCOT market design. These successful policies have made Texas a clean energy pioneer, and will keep the Lone Star State well-positioned to continue to lead the nation in clean energy development in the years ahead.

— Austin Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas legislator wants to kill Power to Choose website

Feb. 8 — One consumer watchdog said it would be a disservice to Texans shopping for electricity to eliminate Power to Choose.
“It provides an important service,” said R.A. Dyer, policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power in Austin, which buys electricity on behalf of municipal governments. He said it’s important for the Public Utility Commission to oversee the website that provides a way for consumers to compare plans.
— Houston Chronicle

 

Detroit News Opinion: Customers deserve accurate energy pricing

Other parts of the country should move gradually in Texas’s direction in this regard. Consumers should not be a backstop for a retrograde industrial policy that keeps power plants in operation needlessly. But at the same time, if the market does not pay a premium for energy to avoid outages during those hours when the weather is inclement or the system faces stress, consumers will eventually get what they pay for.

— Detroit News

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas power makers say higher revenues will prompt them to dust off old plants for summer

Feb. 7 — A group of Texas power producers that generate about 60 percent of the state’s electricity said its members are planning to invest more than $100 million in existing power plants to prepare for the upcoming summer demand for electricity.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas Democrats caught between climate change and the energy economy

Feb, 5 — Houston Democrat Lizzie Fletcher was elected to Congress last November as part of a progressive groundswell against President Donald Trump, winning over a stretch of wealthy Houston suburbs where the oil industry has long reigned supreme and Democrats had not won an election since the late 1960s.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Weaning Texas off coal tough for renewables alone, analysis shows

Feb. 4 — Due to the proximity coal plants have to big electricity markets and temporal patterns of renewable energy sources, large amounts of energy storage would be required to remove coal from the electricity mix, the report said.

–Houston Chronicle

 

Platts: Australia’s rolling blackouts may provide lessons for Texas grid operator

Feb. 1 — In 2012, coal plants generated 91% of Victoria’s electricity, and natural gas plants provided just 2%, but coal supplied less than 83% of Victoria’s power in 2017, while gas-fired generation surged to 5%. The transformation of ERCOT’s generation mix has been similarly profound. Renewables supplied more than 18% of the grid’s power in 2017, almost all wind. That compares with 9.3% in 2012.

— Platts

 

Dallas Morning News: Internal emails show Public Utility Commission plotting a PR campaign to defend its image

Feb. 2 — In office emails, their public-relations director, Andrew P. Barlow, calls The Watchdog “an unprincipled, self-promoting huckster.” He proposes organizing electricity companies in a counter-campaign to promote companies and the “values they uphold.”

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: An emerging push for time-of-use rates sparks new debates about customer and grid impacts

Jan. 28 — Momentum is building behind time-of-use rates, but longstanding doubts about whether they are fair remain unresolved, threatening new efforts.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: It’s going to be a hot summer. How can Texas electricity keep up?

Jan. 31 — First, the bad news. As L.M. Sixel reported in the Houston Chronicle earlier this month, the buffer between supply and demand on the hottest afternoons this summer is expected to be a record-low 7.4 percent. That’s just over half the buffer that grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) tries to maintain.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Credit coming on Atmos utility bills

Jan. 28 — In the notification letter, Atmos said the refund and rate change were made possible by the collaborative rate review mechanism it has with those cities participating in the Atmos Cities Steering Committee. Denton is a member of that committee.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

KVUE: Georgetown officials say energy price hike isn’t because of wind and solar power

Jan. 25 — Georgetown is famously known for the “Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.”
But, it’s also known for switching to 100 percent renewable energy, powering homes and businesses with solar and wind energy.

— KVUE

 

Houston Chronicle: The latest electricity come-on? A ride-sharing credit

Jan 24 — Retail electricity providers have introduced a bevy of perks to encourage customers to sign up for power contracts. Some throw in a smart thermostat, others promise a smart home organizer.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Platts: Texas PUC staff proposes order letting co-op shift load to ERCOT from Southwest Power Pool

Jan. 24 — The remaining Rayburn Country Electric Cooperative load served by Southwest Power Pool would join the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market in early 2020, under a proposed order to be considered by the Public Utility Commission of Texas at its February 7 meeting.

— Platts

 

Dallas Morning News (Editorial): What is really preventing Atmos from making critical pipeline safety upgrades right away?

Jan. 23 — The regulatory and legislative wheels are in motion for Atmos Energy to more quickly upgrade its aging, dangerous natural gas distribution pipelines in North Texas. Speed is important because after a natural gas explosion in a home that killed a girl last year, Atmos found a worrying number of leaks in North Dallas.

— Dallas Morning News

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Railroad Commission launches online tool to track inspections

Jan. 23 — The Railroad Commission of Texas launched an online database Wednesday that will enable users to track oil and gas inspections and enforcement.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: Regulators approve power market change expected to raise costs

Jan. 18 — Texas regulators approved a proposal to change the way wholesale electricity markets work in Texas, a move expected to significantly boost revenues for power generators while increasing electricity prices for consumers and businesses.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Standard: Would Texas Benefit From A ‘Green New Deal’?

Jan. 17 — A somewhat old idea to address climate change is getting new life, now that it appears to have the backing of New York freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She and other progressives are pushing an idea called a “green new deal” – riffing on the title of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan to rescue the U.S. from the Great Depression.

— Texas Standard

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Construction begins on $600 million West Texas wind farm

Jan. 20 — The High Lonesome project will be the largest wind farm in the world for Italian company Enel Green Power. When completed by the end of the year, the 450 megawatt project represents a $600 million investment and, once fully operational, will generate about 1.7 terawatt hours annually.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

KUT: Report Says Texas’ Oil And Gas Boom Could Spell Climate ‘Disaster’

Jan. 17 — The report from Oil Change International, a coalition of environmental groups, says continued growth in fossil fuel extraction – much of which occurs in Texas – could derail any hope of avoiding dire effects of climate change.

— KUT

 

Texas Standard: How An Explosion Investigation Spurred A Call For New Natural Gas Regulations

Jan. 17 — As the new legislative session gets underway, one Texas lawmaker is trying to change regulations of the state’s natural gas industry, in light of a series of explosions and deaths tied to pipeline leaks that took place over a decade.

— Texas Standard

 

WFAA: Dallas lawmaker proposes bills to tighten oversight of natural gas providers in wake of deadly explosion

Jan.16 — A Dallas lawmaker has filed 11 bills seeking to hold natural gas companies like Atmos Energy more accountable to the public and to force the Texas Railroad Commission to do a better job of overseeing the industry it regulates.

— WFAA

 

WFAA: Nearly a year after deadly explosion, Atmos asks Dallas for $10.1 million rate hike

Jan. 16 — The rate review request comes nearly a year after three explosions rocked a Northwest Dallas neighborhood and killed an 11-year-old girl.

— WFAA


Dallas Morning News: A year after 12-year-old girl was killed in Dallas natural gas explosion, Atmos asks for $10.1 million rate hike

Jan. 16 — Atmos Energy, which is still replacing gas pipes near the northwest Dallas neighborhood where a 12-year-old girl was killed last year in a house explosion, is asking the city for yet another significant rate hike.

— Dallas Morning News

 

NBC DFW: Atmos Energy Asks City of Dallas to Approve Rate Increase

Jan. 16 — The gas distribution company is asking the City of Dallas to approve a rate increase on customers to offset expenses and boost their revenue by more than $10 billion.

— NBC DFW

 

Texas Public Radio: ‘Green’ Texas Town Faces Budget Crunch As Energy Prices Drop

Jan. 16 — Georgetown, Texas, made headlines when it signed 20- and 25-year contracts with solar and wind energy providers at a fixed rate in 2012. The costs of energy have plummeted since then though, and the city is on the hook for excess energy it thought it could sell back for at least as much as they bought it for.

— Texas Public Radio

 

KBTX-TV: Texas A&M expert reviews gas test data on home with mystery leak

Jan. 15 — The homeowner has been unable to live there. KBTX has been looking into what may be causing the leak. A report by the Conroe Fire Department shows things like MTBE, Acetone, and Benzene are showing up inside.

— KBTX

 

Houston Chronicle: Permian Basin dominates drilling permit filings in New Year

Jan. 14 — Nearly three-fourths of the 245 drilling permits filed with the Railroad Commission during the first week of 2019 were from the prolific West Texas shale play.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: ‘Unlayering’ peak demand could accelerate energy storage adoption

Jan. 15 — A new approach to the peaker-storage debate could help energy storage better meet peak demand and lower emissions.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Clean Energy Investment Exceeded $300 Billion Once Again in 2018

Jan. 16 — Solar commitments declined 24% in dollar terms even though there was record new photovoltaic capacity added, breaking 100 GW barrier for the first time.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle Editorial: ‘Green New Deal’ isn’t radical. It’s a natural for Texas’ wind, solar energy

Jan. 12 — A new Rice University study points out that Texas’ environment — which produces sufficient wind and solar power — is ideal to greatly reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. The report should open politicians’ eyes to the potential for a Green New Deal to boost the nation’s economy by creating alternative energy jobs.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Clean Technica: SWEPCO Seeking Proposals For 1.2 Gigawatts Of Wind

Jan. 11: The Southwestern Electric Power Company announced on Monday that it was seeking proposals for up to 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of wind energy to be brought into commercial operation by the end of 2021.

— Clean Technica

 

Houston Chronicle: Houston-area electricity bills up 18 percent

Jan. 14 — Electricity costs shot up 17.8 percent over the past year for Houston area residents, thanks to record setting demand and tight capacity last summer.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: Will Renewable Energy Replace Coal In Texas?

Jan. 11 — Research by Rice University shows wind and solar can complement each other to make energy from coal unnecessary.

— Houston Public Media

 

San Angelo Standard-Times: AEP scammers being reported in San Angelo; here’s how to protect yourself
Jan. 9 — People are receiving threats from the scammers about disconnecting their service if a payment to them isn’t made immediately. There have also been reports about people going door-to-door, asking to read electricity meters and then asking for payments for an offer for AEP power, the release states.

— San Angelo Standard-Times

 

Dallas Morning News Editorial: Part of cleaning up oil production is building natural gas pipelines

Jan. 10 — This is a good thing when drilling takes place in a field with well-developed pipeline infrastructure. It means one well can produce two valuable products, and sometimes more, if the natural gas contains other types of valuable gas that can be separated and sold. Less waste, more fuel.

— Dallas Morning News

 

E&E News: Next president could declare climate emergency, GOP fears

Jan. 11 — Republicans are increasingly concerned that President Trump’s threat to build a border wall by declaring a national emergency might be repeated by a future president who sees climate change as an existential danger to the United States.

— E&E News

 

E&E News: A Texas group that rejects warming is favored by Trump

Jan. 7 — For a relatively small organization, TPPF has an outsize influence on Washington’s energy and environment politics. The group was formed 30 years ago by a conservative Texas millionaire, James Leininger, who made his fortune selling hospital beds. He wanted to boost right-wing policies. Since then, it has grown substantially, and now receives funding from the energy industry and the Koch network.

— E&E News

 

Dallas Morning News: Oil vs. astronomy and The race to protect the night sky in West Texas

Jan. 6 — West Texas is famed worldwide for its vast crude oil reserves. But for over 75 years, a small patch of the Permian Basin has also been valued for its pitch-black night sky.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Solar Industry: Luminant Brings Large-Scale Energy Storage Online At Texas Solar Facility

Jan. 4 — The 10 MW/42 MWh lithium-ion energy storage system captures excess solar energy produced at Upton 2 during the day and can release the power in late afternoon and early evening, when energy demand in ERCOT is highest. The battery system can also take advantage of low-priced grid power – during times of high wind output, for example – to charge the batteries to be available for higher-demand periods, explains Luminant.

— Solar Industry

Utility Dive: 10 trends shaping the electric power sector in 2019

Jan. 2 — Renewable energy is increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. Distributed energy is upending the economics of the grid. Climate change is presenting new threats to power systems and their regulatory models.

— Utility Dive

 

Dallas Morning News: How should you shop for cheap electricity in 2019? Very carefully

Jan. 4 — “In percentage terms,” the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power reports, “the year-to-year increase is the greatest in more than a decade.”

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: FERC’s McIntyre dies at 58

Jan. 3 — McIntyre stepped down from the chairmanship in October, after missing two monthly FERC sessions for health reasons. As FERC chairman, he led FERC to unanimously reject the Trump administration’s plan to support failing coal and nuclear plants.