UTILITY NEWS ROUND-UP

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.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: El Paso Electric includes 100 MW storage in 2022 energy mix

Jan. 3 — The utility issued a request for proposals in June of 2017 and received bids through October of 2018 after finding it would need an additional 370 MW to meet 2022-2023 demand. The winning solicitations include a 226 MW natural gas combustion turbine, 200 MW of utility-scale solar and 100 MW of energy storage.

— Utility Dive

Think Progress: More coal plants shut down in Trump’s first two years than in Obama’s entire first term

Jan. 3 — The fundamental problem for coal was — and still is — economics, not politics. Indeed, as one leading industry analyst explained back in May, “the economics of coal have gotten worse” under Trump. Coal power plants have simply become too expensive to operate compared to natural gas and renewable energy. Indeed, building and running new wind and solar farms is now cheaper than just running existing coal plants in many places.

— Think Progress

 

Energy Storage News: El Paso Electric elects for 100MW of storage in 370MW capacity push

Jan. 2 — Electricity from 100MW of energy storage facilities will be purchased by US public utility company El Paso Electric, following a competitive solicitation process.

— Energy Storage News

 

Houston Chronicle: BP sells three wind farm operations in Texas

Dec. 21 — London-based oil and gas producer BP sold three wind energy operations in Texas and says it will use the money to upgrade technology in its remaining U.S. wind operations. The price was not disclosed.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: The time has come for more oversight of Atmos

Jan. 1 — Nearly a year has passed since a natural gas explosion destroyed a northwest Dallas house, killing 12-year-old Linda Rogers. What we’ve learned since that February 2018 explosion is disturbing. What did Atmos Energy Corp. know, when did they know it, and are other dangers lurking in the network of old pipes?

— Dallas Morning News

 

Platts: El Paso Electric’s renewables, gas plant plans draw mixed reactions

Dec. 27 — El Paso Electric plans to rely on a combination of solar, wind, battery storage and natural gas generation to meet its peak demand needs in 2022-23, the company announced Wednesday, which drew mixed reactions Thursday from industry observers.

— Platts

 

Dallas Morning News: Permian Basin expects a boost from pipelines opening in 2019

Dec. 28 — Crude oil prices hit three-year highs in the spring and dropped to a 14-month low in December. Permian Basin drillers were hobbled all year by oil and natural gas pipelines that were straining capacity. And still, oil production increased by nearly 900,000 barrels per day in 2018.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas PUC Staff To Hold Workshop On Power To Choose Site
Jan. 2 — Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas will hold a workshop seeking input from Retail Electric Providers (REPs) and interested parties regarding the Power to Choose website and the methodology of the complaint scorecard.
The workshop will be held on Wednesday January 23, 2019.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Smart Cities Dive: US Census Bureau finds stark rural-urban broadband divide

Jan. 2 — Low broadband rates were found across the upper Plains, the Southwest and the South; Arizona, New Mexico and south Texas were some of the regions with low rates, along with the lower parts of Mississippi and Alabama and areas of the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Bloomberg: A 21,000% Gain Shows Sky-High Value of Offshore Wind Leases

Dec. 20 — An Italian construction company just sold its lease to develop a wind farm in waters off the New Jersey coast for $215 million, about 21,000 percent more than it paid only three years ago.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas has enough sun and wind to quit coal, Rice researchers say

Jan. 2 — By coordinating wind energy with solar production, Texas could replace coal, a new study finds.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Bloomberg: Electricity Use Was Up Last Year, But Why?

Dec. 31 — It could be crypto mining, or that everyone had the air conditioner on.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: Energy groups pan NERC generation retirement report for ‘extreme’ assumptions

Dec. 19 — A wide swath of energy and consumer groups criticized a report on power plant retirements released by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) on Tuesday, saying it presents unrealistic scenarios and should not be used to influence grid planning.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas wind generation breaks record, ERCOT reports

Dec. 20 — At 12:07 am Friday, wind power generated 19,168 megawatts of electricity for a brief moment, beating the previous record of 17,920 megawatts, recorded at 3:32 p.m. on Nov. 12, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s primary electric grid operator.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Midland Reporter Telegram: Texas power regulators delay again on changes that could boost electric bills

Dec. 20 — Texas regulators punted again, opting not to take up proposals at their meeting Thursday that would change the way wholesale electricity markets work in Texas, a move that could raise electricity prices for consumers and businesses as much as 13 percent, according to one analysis.

— Midland Reporter Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: So, exactly how much electricity can Texas produce? No one knows and regulators are trying to find out

Dec. 20 — Texas is heading into summer with the tightest reserve margin on record, a less than comfortable cushion if Texas faces another string of triple-digit temperatures and power generators have problems keeping up with demand.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Platts: ERCOT likely to face another summer with low reserve margin

Dec. 18 — Despite the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ tight supply conditions in the summer of 2018 resulting in no energy emergencies, state regulators probably will implement some market reforms in 2019, industry observers say, but they differ over how power prices might behave next year.

— Platts

 

Dallas Morning News (Opinion): The PUC should let competition work in the Texas electricity market

Dec. 19 –The Public Utility Commission of Texas may be on the verge, at the behest of electric generators, of throwing in the towel and calling the competitive market a failure.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas power regulators delay again on changes that could boost electric bills

Dec. 20, 2018 — Texas regulators punted again, opting not to take up proposals at their meeting Thursday that would change the way wholesale electricity markets work in Texas, a move that could raise electricity prices for consumers and businesses as much as 13 percent, according to one analysis.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Capacity pricing changes: How each power market plans to account for resource adequacy

Dec. 18 — ERCOT uses planned reserve margins to build in a buffer of excess capacity to ensure reliability during peak usage periods, such as July and August. However, the coal units being relied upon in the summer will eventually need to undergo maintenance, Orvis said, and taking them offline can jack up prices during off-peak times, like September and October.

— Utility Dive

 

WFAA: Inside State Rep. Rafael Anchia’s fight to prevent natural gas explosions

Dec. 17 — In the upcoming New Year, a Dallas lawmaker plans to propose a slate of bills seeking to try to prevent natural gas explosions like the one 10 months ago that claimed the life of 12-year-old Michellita Rogers in Northwest Dallas.

— WFAA

 

Trib Talk: Change to Scale Will Let Free Market Drive New Power Generation

Dec. 17 — Over the years, Texas’ deregulated electricity system has proven to be a state treasure, helping Texans enjoy some of the nation’s lowest wholesale rates and continuing an established record of reliability. However, the state’s ongoing, extensive growth has expanded its appetite for electricity and underscored the importance of ensuring that we have enough power during times of highest usage — usually during the summer and winter months.

— Trib Talk

 

Dallas Morning News (Guest Opinion): The Texas electricity market needs a tweak make sure we keep the lights on

Dec. 19 — When the public utility commission adopted the Texas market design two decades ago, we fully expected it to evolve. It has, as the commission has helped ease the transition to a grid with many more renewable power plants, newer-technology gas plants, widespread advanced digital meters, and more-educated customers.

— Dallas Morning News

 

The Daily Caller: TEXAS CITY FEATURED IN AL GORE’S ‘INCONVENIENT SEQUEL’ LOST MILLIONS IN ITS GREEN ENERGY GAMBLE

Dec. 18 — Georgetown’s bet against fossil fuel prices cost the city-owned utility nearly $7 million this year, and prompted officials to look for a way out of their long-term contracts for solar and wind energy.

— Daily Caller

Sierra Club: Texas PUC Commissioners Must Reject Generator Proposal to Boost Electricity Prices

Dec. 13 — Artificially boosting prices is not the answer. The PUC commissioners took the right first step recently by delaying consideration of the generator proposal. They should go further and reject it. Otherwise, electricity consumers — large and small — will face the burden that will also slow down our economic growth.

— Sierra Club

 

Houston Chronicle: Can Houston keep its title as world’s energy capital?

Dec. 16 — Houston has held the title Energy Capital of the World for at least a century, but many local business leaders worry the globally recognized title could soon be under siege.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Texas muni signs cheap solar contract ‘below $25/MWh’

Dec. 17 — New Braunfels Utilities signed the 15-year PPA with Engie Long Draw Solar, which the utility said would deliver power during peak electricity demand hours and “allow NBU to maintain one of the lowest retail electric rates in the country.”

— Utility Dive

 

Platts: ERCOT set record wind output amid windy weather

Dec. 14 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set a new wind output record of 19.2 GW in late Thursday, as a storm system was moving into the area with high wind.

— Platts

 

Forbes: Taxing Text Messages & Electricity – One Way Texas Is Like California: Unelected Officials Can “Tax”

Dec. 12 — As early as Dec. 20, the Public Utility Commission of Texas may vote to increase electricity costs on consumers by up to $4 billion. Meanwhile, in California, that state’s PUC is considering a “tax” on text messages to the tune of $45 million per year and may even apply the “Public Purpose Program” fee retroactively, raising an additional one-time amount for past text messages of $220 million.

— Forbes

 

Houston Chronicle: Houstonians paid 9.4 percent more for power last year

Dec. 14 — The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Houston-area residents paid 9.4 percent more for electricity in November compared with a year earlier, reflecting fears of shortages in the wholesale electricity market that drove up power prices.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Solar energy generation is growing in Texas

Nov. 13 — Over the next five years, Texas is expected to install 4,266 megawatts of solar power, tripling the state’s current installed solar capacity, and making Texas the third fastest-growing solar energy producer behind California and Florida.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas power costs: What’s the cheapest way to generate electricity?

Dec. 11 — University of Texas researchers have pointed out that renewables are becoming even more competitive in areas like the Northeast, where they haven’t been an obvious choice.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Bloomberg: Exxon’s Power Play Points to Texas’ Future

Dec. 10 –The oil giant’s big bet on Permian renewables shows how the economics of the electricity market are changing.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity sellers aren’t just selling power these days

Dec. 7 — Homeowners interested in security systems. air conditioning repair and water purification don’t have to look too hard these days. Most likely, they can buy them from their retail electricity providers.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Politico: Why greens are turning away from a carbon tax

Dec. 9 — Putting an economic price on greenhouse gases is proving a hard sell with the public, even as time to head off climate change shrinks.

— Politico

 

Houston Chronicle (Opinion): True leaders worry about their legacies, and climate change

Dec. 7 — Leaders are judged by what they leave behind, by whether their community or business is better off because they stepped up to the challenge.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Tribune: Fearing outages, Texas regulators consider controversial plan to boost power generation

Dec. 6 — The Public Utility Commission is considering measures to ensure Texans don’t lose power in the hot summer months. A plan generators are pushing would cost $4 billion — and lead to higher electric bills.

– Texas Tribune

Houston Chronicle: Texas regulators delay consideration of big changes in wholesale power markets

Dec. 6 — Texas regulators will postpone action on changing the way wholesale electricity markets work in Texas when they meet Friday to give themselves more time to consider two proposals from two of the state’s biggest power generators.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Earthquakes in Heart of Texas Oil Country Spur Water Crackdown

Dec. 6 — Texas is considering new restrictions on how shale explorers dispose of wastewater from oil drilling as earthquakes rattle the largest oil-producing American state.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas power companies quietly lobby for higher prices

Dec. 4 — The Public Utility Commission could raise electricity bills by $4 billion in the coming weeks if members acquiesce to demands from generators who insist power in Texas is too cheap.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: Texas Electric Grid Bracing For Another Big Test

December 6 — ERCOT, the grid operator for most of the state, expects demand to reach almost 75,000 megawatts in the coming summer, topping last summer’s record. But this time around, the grid will face the pressure with even lower reserves.

— Houston Public Media

 

Houston Chronicle: Is it time for the political fall of renewable energy? [Opinion]

Dec. 6 — At the end of October, several electricity generators and wind industry representatives teamed up to ask the Public Utility Commission of Texas to impose an electricity “tax” on Texas consumers of up to $4 billion a year in order to increase their revenues.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Waco Triune-Herald: Waco advisory board weighs proposal to commit city to renewable energy

Dec. 6 — A city advisory board has started discussions on a proposal to commit Waco to using exclusively renewable energy for all municipal purposes by 2050, but the proposal hit a procedural snag Wednesday.

— Waco Tribune-Herald

 

Bloomberg: Earthquakes in Heart of Texas Oil Country Spur Water Crackdown

Dec. 5 — The new rules would target how much and at what pressure briny water that emerges from oil wells is injected back into the ground, Jared Craighead, chief of staff for the Texas Railroad Commission, said by telephone Wednesday. The rules haven’t been finalized amid ongoing talks that include representatives from academia and the shale industry.

— Bloomberg

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: When summer arrives, Texas’ electricity reserve margins will be tight

Dec. 4 — Higher-than-expected demand for electricity coupled with cancellations of planned power generation projects will leave less room for error in the coming summer, according to the manager of the state’s power grid.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

SmartCitiesDive: Low-income neighborhoods disproportionately feel environmental burdens according to study

Dec.4 — The index from Data-Driven Yale examined five areas of environmental concern: air quality, climate change, water and sanitation, urban ecosystem and transportation.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

SmartCitiesDive: City Leader of the Year is Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner

Dec. 3 –T he 2018 Dive Awards recognize the industry’s top disruptors and innovators. These executives, companies, trends and breakthroughs are transforming the industry and shaping the future.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Utility Dive: Federal climate report: US energy, transportation sectors not prepared for warming

Nov. 2 — The U.S. energy and transportation sectors are unprepared for the impacts of climate change they are helping stoke, according to a new federal report that warns of “longer and more frequent power interruptions.”

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: ALEC members reject electricity competition resolution

Dec. 3 – -The vote at the meeting of the private conservative policy group illustrates the ongoing debate between backers of market competition and incumbent utilities keen to preserve monopoly power.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Drilling Down: Equinor prepares to tackle new Eagle Ford Shale projects

Nov. 30 — The exploration and production company has filed for its first new drilling permits in more than six months, seeking permission from the Railroad Commission of Texas to develop three horizontal wells on its South Texas Syndicate lease in La Salle County.

— Houston Chronicle

 

The Houston Chronicle: Transmission is latest front in fossil fuels v. renewables battle

Nov. 30 — Two of the nation’s biggest power companies have opened a new front in the battle with renewable energy, targeting Texas transmission rules with the goal of raising the cost of wind and solar electricity generated in remote West Texas and shipped to population centers such as Houston and Dallas.

— The Houston Chronicle

 

Bloomberg: Exxon Will Use Wind, Solar Power to Produce Crude Oil in Texas

Nov. 28 — Under 12-year agreements with Denmark’s Orsted A/S, Exxon will buy 500 megawatts of wind and solar power in the Permian Basin, the fastest growing U.S. oil field. It is the largest ever renewable power contract signed by an oil company, according to Bloomberg NEF. Terms weren’t disclosed.

— Bloomberg

 

Dallas Morning News Opinion: Texas and Mexico have a perfect partnership opportunity: renewable energy

Nov. 29 — Ignore the incendiary rhetoric coming out of Washington D.C., the new political climate south of the border has never been more favorable, especially toward green energy providers. And the U.S., Mexico and ultimately Texas, have a lot to gain through greater and mutually-beneficial collaboration.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Vistra Energy profiles its customers into well-drawn personalities

Nov. 28 — The second-biggest seller of electricity in Texas leverages information it collects on payment and other customer interactions and combines it with research on consumer attitudes to categorize its 1.7 million Texas customers. Vistra uses the personas it develops to determine how to handle calls, what to say and even which agent is best suited to deal with each customer type, borrowing a page from other consumer companies that have turned their clients’ records into personalized gold mines.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Smart meter deployments slow as questions emerge over cost effectiveness, saturation

Nov. 28 — There have long been arguments that the savings smart meters generate do not justify the cost. Regulators in Kentucky and Massachusetts were not so blunt, but they did reject proposals this year over concerns that utilities did not sufficiently make the business case. AMI deployments are expensive: Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric had proposed to install AMI for 1.3 million customers over the next five years, but the plan carried a $350 million price tag.

— Utility Dive

 

KXAN: Company taps Texas energy market to get deals for consumers

Nov. 28 — According to a spokesperson for the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC), which regulates rates and services of the public utilities in Texas, One Big Switch has been a registered aggregator since 2015. An aggregator is a group or person that brings retail energy customers together, aiming to seek better prices or services.

— KXAN

 

Utility Dive: How cities are affected by the federal climate report — and how they’re fighting back

Nov. 27 — Extreme weather threatens to destroy urban areas while transportation systems may buckle, but there is optimism that city leaders will keep moving things forward.

— Utility Dive

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Local environmental activists ask district to further embrace solar energy

Nov. 26 — Representatives from nonprofit Environment Texas on Oct. 29 asked Austin Independent School District trustees to promote solar energy and incorporate solar power at every district campus by 2025.

Emma Pabst, a clean energy associate with Environment Texas, said during a public comment session that the district’s 2013 bond package included $10 million that was earmarked for solar installation across the district.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Texas Public Radio: Georgetown, Texas: Redefining Neighborhoods Through Renewable Energy

Nov. 26 — Georgetown, located north of Austin, was the first in Texas to go 100 percent renewable energy in 2017. Now, the city of nearly 70,000 thousand people wants to generate power locally in a move staff say could change how neighborhoods are designed in the future.

— Texas Public Radio

 

Dallas Morning News: Dallas’ faith-based oil company hit a dry hole in Israel and is running out of money

Nov. 27 — The faith-based company announced just before Thanksgiving that its latest oil well in Israel wasn’t commercial viable. Company officials had previously said that Zion had only enough money to operate through the end of January.

— Dallas Morning News

 

KXAN: Wind energy supporters brace for a fight in the Texas capitol

Nov. 27 — The state allows local cities and counties to make agreements with energy companies; governments will collect less in property taxes in exchange for business investments and jobs in a certain community. They’re known as Chapter 312 and Chapter 313 agreements and representatives from many renewable energy companies say they chose Texas because of them.

However, ahead of the session, a well-known conservative think tank has set its sights on stripping the state of tax breaks and incentives for renewable energy companies.

— KXAN

 

Action 10 KZTV News: Lower your electric bill with One Big Switch

A 2014 report by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power found before deregulation, Texans were paying 6.4 percent below the national residential average, a decade after; people are paying 8.5 above the national average.

— Action 10 KZTV News

 

Houston Business Journal: NRG CEO sees Houston growth on the horizon

Nov. 21 — “After rightsizing, we’re now entering into a phase where we want to grow our retail business,” CEO Mauricio Gutierrez said. “And to the extent that we grow retail, we’re going to grow generation.”

— Houston Business Journal

 

Texas Standard: The Eyes Of Texas Are On Falling Oil Prices, And Struggling Energy Sector Stocks

Nov. 21 — Many Texans may be paying attention to the stock market right now, as energy companies continue to lead a downward charge. In fact, the energy sector worldwide lost about $1 trillion in value during a 40-day period that began in early October, reports the Houston Chronicle. This means some energy companies may have a difficult time borrowing money, and hiring and retaining employees. For tens of thousands of Texans from Houston to West Texas, this impacts job security, retirement plans and confidence for buying homes, cars and holiday gifts.

— Texas Standard

 

Dallas Morning News: Oncor sends crews from Texas to California to assist with outages after wildfires

Nov. 24 — More than 100 Oncor employees and contractors left Dallas on Friday morning for Northern California, where they will help restore power to areas that have suffered massive destruction from the region’s deadly wildfires.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Paris News Opinion: Solar farms could provide windfall for school districts

Nov. 23 — Start talking money in the millions and billions and I can’t quite wrap my mind around that many dollars.

— Paris News

 

Abilene Reporter News: Atmos clarifies gas cutoff rules in wake of fire Tuesday

Nov. 16 — A house fire Tuesday was sparked when a family attempted to light a fire in their fireplace after gas service had been disconnected Monday.

— Abilene Reporter News

 

Houston Chronicle: Complaints about Texas electricity billing at a 3-year high

Nov. 14 — Texans filed 5,400 complaints and inquiries with the Public Utility Commission last year, nearly 29 percent more than the previous year, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a group that buys electricity on behalf of municipal governments.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: CenterPoint Energy urges customers to be on alert for potential scams

Nov. 15 — Posing as utility company employees, scammers are calling customers to tell them they are behind on their bills and have a short time to make a payment. The customers are told to pay with their credit card or purchase a Green Dot pre-paid debit card with Bitcoin or other type of reloadable debit card. The scammers then tell customers to load the cards with money and provide the serial number from the card to avoid having their service shut off at the meter.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Business Journal: Wind power produced in Texas is on the rise, as are the tax incentives supporting it

Nov. 16 — The Lone Star State produces more power from wind energy than any other state. Many school districts are offering tax incentives to lure renewable projects — and the big names behind them, such as Nike and Amazon.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: Wind, solar and less demand for power cutting CO2 emissions

Nov. 16 — Carbon dioxide emissions are dropping nationwide, reflecting a decline in electricity consumption and an increase in the use of cleaner energy sources to produce power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: The (Public) Utility Commission can ask for improvements in electricity shopping, but will it?

Nov. 16 — According to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, “The number of electricity-related complaints filed with Texas regulators jumped by nearly 29 percent during the last fiscal year and they now stand at a three-year high.

— Dallas Morning News

 

E&E News: Climate hawk prepares for lead role in energy capital

Nov. 19 — An electoral tsunami swept through this flood-prone energy hub this month, carving a blue path for a climate-talking 27-year-old to become chief executive of Texas’ most populous county.

— E&E News

 

Zacks — Atmos Energy’s Board Approves 8.3% Hike in Dividend

Nov. 12 — Customers and investors gain from constructive rate outcomes. In fiscal 2018, the company’s operating income rose by $80.1 million on account of various new rates being implemented, which were approved during the full fiscal. Courtesy of the rate raises; the company expects its operating income to increase by $22.8 million in fiscal 2019 on account of the already implemented rates. Also, the company’s operating income might further grow by $13.8 million going forward, banking on various rate cases that are in progress.

— Zacks

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Complaints about Texas electricity billing at a 3-year high

Nov. 14 — Texans filed 5,400 complaints and inquiries with the Public Utility Commission last year, nearly 29 percent more than the previous year, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a group that buys electricity on behalf of municipal government.

— Midland Reporter Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG has its checkbook out as power sellers consolidate

Nov. 14 — NRG Energy, the biggest seller of electricity in Texas, recently got bigger, swallowing another competitor as it seeks to expand its dominance over the retail electric market in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Texas Tribune: Electricity complaints filed by Texans reach three-year high, report says

Nov. 13 — Despite showing an uptick in electricity complaints this year, a report released by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power also shows that complaints and inquiries have generally decreased over the past decade.

— Texas Tribune

 

Houston Chronicle: FERC nominee with Texas ties faces tough questions from Senate

A former adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz and chief of staff to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is at the center of the debate around President Donald Trump’s efforts to prop up struggling coal and nuclear power plants.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Renewables have saved Texans nearly $5 billion since 2010, according to Report

The savings to residential and non-residential customers include $856 million in 2017 alone and a top figure of $959 million in 2016, according to a new report commissioned by renewable industry groups the Wind Solar Alliance, American Wind Energy Association, and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: CenterPoint credits higher rates, more customers for solid profit

The company credited higher rates approved by regulators and a growing customer base for revenues that grew to $2.2 billion compared to $2.1 billion for the same quarter one year ago.

— Houston Chronicle

 

The Daily Texan: Austin could reach 52 percent renewable energy by 2021

Nov. 4 — Austin plans to reach 52 percent renewable energy production by 2021 thanks in part to a solar contract approved by the City Council in October that may also reduce electricity rates.

— The Daily Texan

 

Texas Standard: At The Railroad Commission, It’s About Energy Policy, Not Trains.

Nov. 5 — Most Texans say they’d support changing the commission’s name, but lawmakers in Austin shot down recent proposals to do that.

— Texas Standard

 

Community Impact Newspapers: Georgetown won $1 million to capture and store solar energy. Here’s what happens next

Oct. 31 — The initial project will place nearly 400 solar panels on 10-15 roofs in the city and plant eight to nine batteries that will store energy in case of a power outage, said Chris Foster, Georgetown’s manager of resource planning and integration. Foster said in the case of electricity outages, the batteries can automatically turn on and residents won’t even notice.

— Community Impact Newspapers

 

KXAN: Investigation continues after Austin home explodes

Oct. 30 — Investigators continue to look into what caused a natural gas buildup inside a Southeast Austin home, resulting in an explosion that sent two people to the hospital.

— KXAN

 

Utility Dive: Dem-controlled House would mean expanded oversight, little bipartisan energy work

Nov. 5 — While moderate Republicans have warmed to clean energy in recent years, Tuesday’s election will present a more conservative GOP House caucus as well as the potential for Democratic control.

— Utility Dive

 

Victoria Advocate: Refugio County ranch land could transform into wind

farm

Oct. 29 — Two years ago, the Germany-based company leased about 18,000 acres of land about 7 miles south of Woodsboro and west of U.S. 77 for what it is calling the Blackjack Creek Wind Farm.

— Victoria Advocate

 

Houston Chronicle: Oil industry’s influence still issue in Railroad Commission race

Oct. 30 — The issue of whether oil and gas companies have too much influence over their regulators is again dominating the race for a seat on the Railroad Commission, the state agency that oversees the energy industry.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Green Tech Media: GE Wants to Build Virtual Power Plants Using Blockchain

Oct. 31 — Steven Martin, GE Power’s chief digital officer, told GTM the move was in response to a general trend away from large central generating plants and toward distributed generation. GE has traditionally had limited exposure to this area.

— Green Tech Media

 

Houston Chronicle: Editorial Board Endorses Craddick for Railroad Commissioner

Oct. 20: The decisions the Railroad Commission makes, however, are as consequential to Texas as ever.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News: Oncor acquires West Texas power lines in $1.3 billion deal with Hunt family

Oct. 21 — “I think they see it as a growth opportunity. They already own assets in that area, they have a service territory … in that area,” said Geoffrey Gay, an Austin-based attorney and general counsel to the Oncor Cities Steering Committee. “It’s additional revenues and additional business opportunities.”

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: Can the price of rooftop solar keep falling?

Oct. 18 — “If prices keep dropping, [rooftop solar] adoption will continue and a smart utility CEO would watch the market and think about ways utilities can have some control over distributed resources.”

— Utility Dive

 

Energy Choice Matters: Oncor To Issue One-Time Billing Credit To Texas REPs relating to Tax Law

Oct. 22 — Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC has filed at the Public Utility Commission of Texas to issue a one-time billing credit to retail electric providers, resulting from a recent stipulation concerning changes in federal tax law.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Smart City Dive: Delivery robots may soon hit the streets of Dallas

Oct. 22 — The pilot would allow fleets of electronically powered, autonomous devices, no more than 26 inches wide and 48 inches high, with maximum speeds of 5 miles per hour. So far, San Francisco-based Marble is the first company to express interest in the pilot.

— Smart City Dive

 

KXAN: Oil Empire | Family Ties

Research reveals Craddick and two of her family’s companies — Quarry and Craddick Partners Ltd. — have stakes in more than 360 oil and gas leases in 22 counties across Texas. With stakes in Mexco Energy Corporation, in which her father sits on the board of directors, that number swells beyond 600 in Texas.

— KXAN

 

 

Utility Dive: Despite headwinds, natural gas reliance set to grow in much of US

Oct. 15 — Gas-fired generation has been called a bridge to a renewable future, but the length of the bridge depends on where it is.

— Utility Dive

 

Smart Cities Dive: Cities on front lines of protecting the grid from cyberattack

Oct. 17 — The electric grid is increasingly part of our national security, and cities are at the forefront. But a revolution in technology and practice can make us all safer.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Utility Dive: Electricity markets: States reassert authority over power generation

Oct. 16 — States want the benefits of electricity markets but also want to dictate their outcomes. How federal regulators strike a balance will influence the power mix for decades to come.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: What utilities can learn from Amazon and Netflix about the future of ratemaking

Oct. 15 — Electricity rates will include time and performance factors, unless subscriptions take over.

— Utility Dive

 

Dallas Morning News: How Dallas fared against Plano, Arlington in a ranking of America’s greenest cities

Oct. 16 — The Dallas-Fort Worth area often tops — or at least performs well — in the flood of financial and quality-of-life lists released every month.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Dallas Morning News: House explosion reported in Hurst

Oct. 15 — Atmos did not find any natural gas leaks at the home and no faulty gas appliances were located, he said.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Texas Standard: Federal Alternative Energy Subsidies’ Expiration Date Causes ‘Wind Rush’ in Texas

Oct. 16 — The state of Texas is the biggest producer of wind power in the U.S. But at the end of 2019, federal subsidies for renewable wind energy will expire. This has led to a wind rush, of sorts. Kristian Hérnandez is a Texan and the 2017 American University Fellow at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington, D.C.

— Texas Standard

 

Houston Chronicle: EPA weighs allowing oil companies to pump wastewater into rivers, streams

Oct. 15 — For almost as long as there have been oil wells in Texas, drillers have pumped the vast quantities of brackish wastewater that surfaces with the oil into underground wells thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: DOE coal, nuclear bailout on hold at White House

Oct. 16 — Energy insiders worried that subsidizing a significant number of failing generators could upend wholesale electricity markets and that the debate over such a plan was subsuming other policy issues in Washington.

— Utility Dive

 

Dallas Business Journal: GM’s Arlington plant, one of its largest in the nation, now operates on 100% renewable energy

Oct. 10 — The General Motors plant where it makes sport utility vehicles like the Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon and Escalade will now operate on 100 percent renewable energy, the company announced last week.

— Dallas Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: Houstonians pay more for household energy in August, September

Oct. 11 — Houstonians paid more for household energy in August and September, reflecting higher costs for electricity but tempered by lower utility gas prices.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Shale will drive global oil growth through 2021, according to Goldman Sachs

Oct. 11 — A new report says U.S. shale oil and gas will continue to drive supply growth through at least 2021, though some signs point to the limits of shale resources.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: Solar, wind helping to cut CO2 emissions, government says

Oct. 8 — Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions decreased nearly 1 percent last year as the nation shifted further away from coal-fired power generation and more toward cleaner sources of electricity, including natural gas and renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KWTX: Oncor warns about scammers in several Central Texas communities

Oct. 8 — The energy company said it received reports from people in Elm Mott, Lacy Lakeview and Bellmead of two men wearing orange vests going door-to-door “misrepresenting” electric delivery to people.

— KWTX

 

Utility Dive: Federal regulators OK $6B CenterPoint-Vectren merger

Oct. 9 — The combined gas and electric utility company would serve more than 7 million customers in eight states, though the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded “there are no common markets with respect to generation ownership.”

— Utility Dive

 

Environmental Defense Fund Blog: Texas’ electricity market is working. But these companies want to change the rules to benefit themselves.

Oct. 5 — Calpine Corporation and NRG Energy are pushing for “marginal losses” – a way of accounting for electricity that is lost on transmission lines as it moves from power plants to homes and businesses – when figuring the price that power plants get paid for electricity as retailers and public utilities buy it to serve their electricity customers.

— Environmental Defense Fund Blog

 

Utility Dive: Trump administration tackles pipeline cybersecurity

Oct. 5 — The groups launched the Pipeline Security Initiative (PSI) to leverage federal government expertise with industry knowledge to address the growing threats to the nation’s energy system.

— Utility Dive

Reuters: EPA’s new carbon plan won’t slow coal unit shutdowns, utilities say

Oct. 5 — The Trump administration’s replacement of Obama-era carbon regulations will not save U.S. coal-fired power plants from shutdown, according to a Reuters survey of utilities, spelling bad news for Trump’s efforts to revive the ailing coal industry.

— Reuters

 

Gizmodo: Wind Farms May Actually Warm the US, Controversial Study Finds

Oct. 5 –The results show that wind farms generate comparatively low power for the area they take up, and that installing a bunch of wind farms could heat up the surrounding land.

— Gizmodo

Houston Chronicle: Solar energy now mainstream power source

Oct. 1 — Solar energy-produced electricity is poised to grow exponentially as solar panels get cheaper to install, more efficient batteries are developed to store the sun’s energy and investors pour more money into an increasingly reliable energy source.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin Monitor: Austin Energy proposes local solar farm

Oct. 1 — In spite of the tremendous appetite for renewable energy in Austin, the city doesn’t offer many opportunities to build the kind of large-scale wind and solar farms necessary to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

— Austin Monitor

San Angelo Standard Times: Atmos Energy details efforts to improve San Angelo infrastructure

Oct. 3 — An inquiry by the Standard-Times regarding the relative age and condition of gas-transmission lines in San Angelo received the following email response. “Pipe Replacement Projects have always been and will continue to be a priority: More than 80% of our investments are directed at pipe replacement and other safety and reliability investments.

— San Angelo Standard Times

 

Plainview Herald: Council Approves Atmos Gas Settlment

Sept. 29 — Also approved was the second reading of an ordinance approving a negotiated settlement between the steering committee of cities served by Atmos Energy regarding the Company’s 2018 Rate Review Mechanism Filings as approved. The current customer charge is set at $15.50 and the proposed rate is $16.10.

— Plainview Herald

 

Austin American-Statesman: Are Christi Craddick’s deep ties with oil and gas a conflict of interest?

Sept. 29 — The Wall Street Journal recently found that of the 20,000 flaring permit requests companies submitted to the state agency over the last five years, none was denied. Roughly $1 million worth of natural gas is burned away daily in the Permian Basin as a result of insufficient natural gas pipelines amid an oil-producing boom, according to the newspaper.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Utility Dive: When PJM’s capacity market stops working for consumers is it time to leave?

Oct. 2 — Illinois and other states have benefited from restructured markets over the past two decades. However, as the cost of reserves creep higher and higher, and the markets themselves fail to value the environmental attributes that people want and that the courts have said are lawful exercises of state authority, states will justifiably seek alternatives.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Power to the Permian? Spotty at Best, Outrun by Shale Boom

Sept. 29 — The Permian Basin, which produces almost 4 million barrels of oil a day, has expanded so quickly that suppliers of the electricity needed to keep wells running are struggling to keep up. The Delaware portion alone consumed the equivalent of 350 megawatts this summer, tripling the load from 2015. That’s enough to power about 280,000 U.S. homes. And providers say the draw is likely to triple again by 2022.

–– Bloomberg

Cleburne Times-Review: Atmos Energy Rate Settlement

Sept. 27 — Atmos Energy serves Cleburne and 171 other Texas cities. The member cities work together on a steering committee negotiate better rates with Atmos, City Manager Steve Polasek said.
— Cleburne Times -Review

 

My High Plains: Low fuel costs lead to refund for Xcel Energy customers

Sept,. 27 — Xcel Energy customers in Texas will receive a one-time refund in January related to several months of lower costs for natural gas used to fuel area power plants, further extending the savings of a 9 percent bill reduction since 2017 that is also tied to less expensive fuel.

— My High Plains

 

Longview News-Journal: Longview council adopts gas, electric rate changes

Sept. 27 — Longview City Council members Thursday approved permanent rate decreases for electric utility customers while also limiting a natural gas company’s proposed rate increase.

— Longview News-Journal

 

Utility Dive: ‘Not your grandma’s DER’: Distributed resources modernize, prove value to grid

Sept. 27 — Proof is emerging that distributed energy resources (DER) can deliver services to the power system in addition to the customers who buy and install them.

— Utility Dive

 

Texas Public Radio: Researchers say “No Link” between Fracking And Methane in North Texas Groundwater

Sept. 25 — Water wells with high levels of methane can be at risk of exploding, but researchers who looked at the issue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area say fracking isn’t to blame.
— Texas Public Radio

 

Energy Choice Matters: Oncor to add charges to some accounts in Sharyland territory

Sept. 25 — Oncor has already replaced the meters at many of the premises that are 290 kW and greater and programmed those meters to record power factor. REPs of Record may obtain the power factor readings for these ESI IDs by utilizing the 867 tab in Oncor’s Competitive Retailer Information Portal (CRIP) or by utilizing the Historical Usage button within CRIP. Additionally, REPs and customers may request power factor data by sending a list of ESI IDs to Oncor’s REP relations email address.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

D Magazine: Atmos Energy Says 3-Year Infrastructure Replacement Plan May Be Feasible

Sept. 24 — I received an email on Friday with the Dallas City Council’s agenda for Wednesday, along with a memo to Council from City Manager T.C. Broadnax about the requested acceleration of Atmos Energy’s Infrastructure replacement. Back in April, weeks after a natural gas explosion killed 12-year-old Linda Rogers, Atmos indicated that it could replace all cast-iron pipes in five years, by 2023. Council members objected to the timeframe, but company leaders would not commit to a quicker replacement plan.

— D Magazine

 

Houston Chronicle: As utilities pass along tax savings, consumers may miss out
Sept. 18 — State regulators have forced utilities in Texas to pass along $333 million in federal tax savings by cutting their electric distribution rates, but consumers may never see a dime of that money.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Corpus Christi Caller-Times: Oil drilling project in northwest Nueces County draws concerns

Sept. 19 — Residents along Lone Oak Drive — behind River Hills Baptist Church on Farm-to-Market Road 624 — expressed concerns to Nueces County commissioners about the project on Wednesday. A pair of companies, Wilcox Oil & Gas Inc. and Logistical Energy Management, are proposing to drill an oil well in a park area along Lone Oak Drive.

— Corpus Christi Caller-Times

Texas Observer: Inside the Coordinated Attack on a North Texas Wind Farm

Sept. 18 — Conservative lawmakers, an oil investor and other activists did all they could to stop a wind project in rural Texas, even as the state has increasingly embraced renewable energy.

— Texas Observer

 

Utility Dive: Trouble in Texas causes shutdown of advanced GE turbine

Sept. 21 — GE expects other 7HA machines will be affected by the same problems, a spokesman told Utility Dive. GE’s stock fell 3.4% after the turbine troubles were reported, leaving shares just above a nine-year low of $12.22.

— Utility Dive

 

Reuters: Four General Electric power turbines shut down in US due to blade issue

Sept. 20 — The problem was first discovered on turbine blades in a natural gas-fueled turbine operated by Exelon Corp in Texas a few weeks ago, GE told Reuters.

— Reuters

 

Smert Cities Dive: Is 2018 the ‘Year of the Woman’ in mayoral races?

Sept. 18 — While it is tricky to track candidates for local office, experts agreed the trend-lines indicate more females running for the top job in their cities.

–Smart Cities Dive

 

Bloomberg: Solar With Batteries Cheaper Than Gas in Parts of U.S. Southwest

Sept. 17 — Natural gas-fired power plants will be facing more price competition from solar farms in some parts of the U.S. as falling battery costs make it possible to deliver electricity produced from sunshine even after dark.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: Hurricane Florence triggers coal ash spill, cuts power to millions

Sept. 17 — Record-breaking rains from Hurricane Florence caused the release of more than 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash from a Duke Energy power plant in North Carolina, the utility announced Sunday, some of which may have reached nearby waterways.

— Utility Dive

 

San Antonio Express- News: Texas grid CEO talks about surviving record heat

Sept. 17 — Bill Magness knows that with Texas heat comes Texas-sized-levels of air conditioning, and which means his organization walks a tightrope to keep the lights on across the Lone Star State.

– San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: Regulators crack down on power companies that don’t offer same deals to English, Spanish speakers

Sept. 17 — “It limits the ability of Spanish speakers to get good deals ,” said R.A. Dyer, policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power in Austin, a group of cities that buy electricity in deregulated markets. “It’s absolutely imperative that Spanish language consumers have the same options and the same choices as everyone else.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: Texas Regulator “Not Happy” with Power Companies Offering Different Plans in English And Spanish on State-Run Website

Sept. 14 — The website is where Texans living in places that don’t have a city-owned utility – like Houston, Dallas and rural areas across the state – can go to find an electric plan.

— Houston Public Media

 

Harker Heights Herald: Heights council OKs budget, tax rate; HOP hours to be slashed

Sept. 14 — Also approved was a negotiated settlement between ATMOS Cities Steering Committee and ATMOS Energy Corp., Mid-Tex Division. The issue at hand was existing rates that the first party considered unreasonable.

— Harker Heights Herald

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas solar industry is on a roll, 2nd only to California

Sept. 13 — The Texas solar industry is on a roll, installing nearly as much solar capability during the first three months of the year as it did during all of 2017. Only California is installing solar capacity faster, according to a report by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KMID TV — Texas Railroad Commission talks pipeline safety

Sept. 12 — It was just last month that a pipeline explosion rocked a family of four in Midland County. Since then, the owner of the pipeline, Targa, launched an investigation on how it happened. This ultimately revealed the discovery of a small hole in the pipeline near where the incident occurred.

— KMID-TV

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Explosion that killed girl, 3, caused by hole in pipeline

Sept. 12 — An explosion in Midland County that killed a 3-year-old girl was caused by a natural gas pipeline which had been leaking “for some time,” according to a report from Energy and Environmental News.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Utility Dive: As rooftop solar expands, states grapple with successors to net metering

Sept. 13 — Net energy metering is the policy available in many states that compensates rooftop solar owners for the generation their solar arrays send to the grid. Under it, utilities compensate solar owners at the same retail rate for power sent to the grid as the customers pay for electricity they consume.

— Utility Dive

 

Reuters: U.S. utility solar contracts ‘exploded’ in 2018 despite tariffs: report

Sept. 12 — Procurement of solar energy by U.S. utilities “exploded” in the first half of 2018, prompting a prominent research group to boost its five-year installation forecast on Thursday despite the Trump administration’s steep tariffs on imported panels.

— Reuters

 

Energy Choice Matters: Co-op Says It Does Not Want To Transfer Customers Away From AEP Texas

Sept. 12 — Rio Grande Electric Cooperative (RGEC), Inc. has stated in response to an RFI that it does not wish to transfer existing customers in the Uvalde Estate Subdivision who are currently served by AEP Texas, and the customers’ selected REP, but for which the Texas PUC has ruled that AEP Texas does not have authority to serve, and that RGEC is the only utility certificated to serve such customers.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Smart Cities Dive: AT&T names 5 more 5G cities, including Houston and San Antonio

Sept. 12 — AT&T named the final five cities that will see the company’s mobile 5G before the end of 2018: Houston; Jacksonville, FL; Louisville, KY; New Orleans; and San Antonio. The company also said it plans to launch in seven more cities — Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Nashville, TN; Orlando, FL; San Diego; San Francisco; and San Jose, CA — in early 2019.
— Smart Cities Dive

 

CityLab: Cities Have Their Limits

Sept. 10 — The mayors are coming. In recent months, City Hall occupants in Tallahassee, Nashville, and Tuscaloosa have won Democratic primaries for their state’s gubernatorial races. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro are rumored to be considering White House bids in 2020. City leaders seeking higher office are banking on the idea that voters will respond to what cities embody today: innovation, diversity, and progress.

— CityLab

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity price is important when shopping but so is timing

Sept. 10 — Many consumers choose the cheapest electricity plan they can find and typically sign up for a one-year contract. But a one-year contract may not always be a good idea, considering that power prices are typically higher in the summer when demand for air conditioning is strongest compared to the winter when temperatures are mild and usage drops.

— Houston Chronicle

 

E&E News: Pipeline in fatal blast had a dime‑sized hole in it

Sept. 10 — The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), which regulates oil and gas rather than trains, sent inspectors to the explosion site. RRC records obtained by E&E News through an open-records request indicate that Targa had the pipeline excavated.
They found that the steel wall of the line and the tar coating that is supposed to protect it had been “compromised,” according to the RRC incident report. There was a hole, three-eighths of an inch by five-eighths of an inch wide, that had been leaking for “an undetermined length of time.

— E&E News

 

Utility Dive: Co-op solar boom raises questions about coal in utility power mixes

Sept. 6 — One of the largest power co-ops in the U.S. gets half its power from coal, but a new study finds it could save money by procuring more renewables.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: The secrets of selling electricity in Texas

Sept. 10 — A recent report by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a statewide group representing municipal governments, showed that average rates in deregulated markets, such as Houston, were 9 to 15 percent higher than those in regulated markets, such as San Antonio, for the fourth year in a row. “It’s got to be paid for somehow,” said R.A. Dyer, policy analyst for the coalition.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Smart Cities Dive: Dallas man in fatal scooter accident

Sept. 7 — Feel like you’re caught in a frenzy of dockless bike- and scooter-share news? Us too. In Dockless Digest, Smart Cities Dive will round up the most important (and sometimes bizarre) news and trends affecting the dockless phenomenon to keep you up-to-date.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Utility Dive: Texas municipality mothballs 470 MW of coal for the winter

Sept. 7 — Just as it did last year, the Texas Municipal Power Agency (TMPA) will mothball its Gibbons Creek plant in October and instead purchase power in the market. ERCOT officials say they expect the plant to be back online in mid-May or mid-July, when the prices are higher.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: FERC not working with Trump White House on coal, nuke bailout

Sept. 6 — FERC staff “has not discussed the merits of any ‘grid resilience’ proposal that would seek to prefer one form of generation over another with executive branch officials,” Chairman Kevin McIntyre wrote. The staff, however, routinely communicates with the Department of Energy on “a host of matters of shared responsibility including intelligence, personnel and legal process.”

— Utility Dive

 

Gainesville Daily Register: City OK’s Atmos rate increase, agreement

Sept. 6 — The utility had originally requested rates to increase enough to yield an additional $42 million, but the cities asked the utility to take into account expected savings from lower federal taxes.

— Gainesville Daily Register

 

Bloomberg: Dire Climate Change Warnings Cut From Trump Power-Plant Proposal

Sept. 4 — Among the abandoned assertions: an acknowledgment that “the climate has continued to change, with new records being set” for global average surface temperatures, Arctic sea ice retreat, carbon dioxide concentrations and sea level rise, all markers of the phenomenon.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: States could save $16 billion annually through energy efficiency policies: report

Sept. 5 — The federal government’s lack of action on efficiency standards is giving states opportunity to step up — a new analysis says energy efficiency policies could mean big savings for consumers by 2035.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: US Residential storage capacity sees 317% growth

Sept. 5 — Utilities in the United States connected almost 217 MW / 524 MWh of energy storage capacity to the grid in 2017, and while those numbers were driven by utility-supply projects, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) says the strongest growth is seen on the residential side.

— Utility Dive

 

More U.S. Cities Brace for ‘Inevitable’ Hackers

Sept. 4 — Hackers are constantly probing for “the one flaw overlooked” in Houston’s computer networks, the official responsible for safeguarding the fourth-largest U.S. city’s system said.

— Wall Street Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas oil production falls for first time since Feb. 2017

Sept. 4 — The year-over-year data released by the Texas Railroad Commission showed that oil production in June was 98.9 million barrels, down 2.4 percent from the 101.3 million barrels produced in June 2017. The June 2018 figures are preliminary.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Report shows increase in riskiest gas main leaks in Denton

Sept. 2 — The report was filed with the Texas Railroad Commission on July 12 and generally covered the period from Jan. 1 through June 30, although it contained some incidents from the last week of December 2017.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: 7 of top 10 oil-producing counties in state are in Permian

Sept. 1 — The Railroad Commission of Texas reported in its June preliminary production report that 9.874 million barrels of oil were produced inside Midland County. The next closest county was Karnes with 6.841 million barrels. The Permian Basin again dominated the list with seven of the top 10 producing counties — Midland, Reeves, Loving, Martin, Upton, Reagan and Andrews.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram

 

Axios: The race to become “smart cities”

September 3 — Cities are increasingly marketing themselves as “smart cities” — hyper-connected, sensor-equipped communities — in their latest economic development pitch to attract workers and businesses.

— Axios

 

In America’s Hottest Drilling Spot, Gas Is Going Up in Smoke

Aug. 29 — “There’s nothing for us to do,” said Ryan Sitton, a member of the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas operations. “If gas becomes a waste product, people will flare it.”

— Wall Street Journal

 

Dallas Morning News: How much will Texans pay for electricity grid damage from Hurricane Harvey?

Aug. 31 — Officials with the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power pointed out that CenterPoint Energy, which operates power lines in the Houston area, has yet to file its claims with the PUC.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas PUC Approves Initial DCRF Rates Applicable To REPs At Oncor

Aug. 31 — The Texas PUC has approved an initial Distribution Cost Recovery Factor rider at Oncor, and updates to the DCRF at CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, adopting unopposed stipulations in both cases.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas PUC Approves Territory-Specific Rates For AEP DCRF

Aug. 31 — During yesterday’s open meeting, counsel for AEP Texas said that such “system-wide” language in PURA is in the context of cities with original jurisdiction, which have jurisdiction over the DCRF, unlike certain other riders. The system-wide provision in PURA is in the context of ensuring the same DCRF rates apply in areas in which cities have original jurisdiction, and areas in which the PUC has sole jurisdiction.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Brownsville Herald: Utility seeks go-ahead for transmission lines near Rio Hondo

Aug. 30 — To move electricity generated by this wind farm and others in the area, the South Texas Electric Cooperative has filed a proposal with the Texas Public Utility Commission for around six miles of high-power transmission lines running north-south just to the east of Rio Hondo.

— Brownsville Herald

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas PUC Chair says AEP Settlement Contradicts Statute

Aug. 30 — In a memo in advance of today’s open meeting, Texas PUC Chairman DeAnn Walker said that an unopposed settlement that would establish new Distribution Cost Recovery Factors (DCRF) at AEP Texas, which would set rates on a territory-specific basis (unique rates for Central, North divisions), is contrary to the language in PURA which requires that a DCRF be applied on a system-wide basis.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Reuters: In a posh Bangkok neighborhood, residents trade energy with blockchain

Aug. 28 — Residents in a Bangkok neighborhood are trying out a renewable energy trading platform that allows them to buy and sell electricity between themselves, signaling the growing popularity of such systems as solar panels get cheaper.

— Reuters

 

Utility Dive: Utilities tab for Hurricane Harvey recovery, hardening tops $500M

Aug. 30 — According to NOAA, there were 16 weather events in the United States last year that individually caused $1 billion or more in damage. Collectively, natural disasters cost $306 billion in 2017, topping the previous record of $215 billion in 2005.

— Utility Dive


Axios: The limits of local fights against climate change

Aug. 30 — A major climate storyline in the Trump era has been the way that cities, regional governments and companies worldwide have been pressing ahead with low-carbon efforts.

– Axios


Smart Cities Dive: A year on from hurricane, Houston leaders see Harvey as ‘the new baseline’

Aug. 30 — Houston’s Chief Recovery Officer said ​the storm had “a magnitude that people are just beginning to understand.” But with every day that passes, the city is not only rebuilding—it’s building forward.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Midland Reporter-Telegram: Electricity use soars in booming Permian Basin

Aug. 24 — A report from Texas’ grid operator shows that power use in the booming Permian Basin oil field of West Texas is growing exponentially faster than the rest of the state.

— Midland Reporter Telegram

 

The Hill: (Commentary) Markets, not ‘renewable energy’ magic, ensure the affordable supply of electricity

Aug. 25 — Relying on wind energy would fill up about 16,000 square miles of California with wind turbines, “a land area roughly four times the size of L.A. County.” In Texas, which uses significantly more electricity than California, wind turbines would cover 200 of Texas’ 254 counties to produce enough electricity to keep the lights on.

— The Hill

 

Community Impact Newspaper: North Texas Municipal Water District cuts proposed water rate increase in half

Aug. 24 – This change comes after the NTMWD board of directors approved a change to the district’s budgeting method for FY 2018-19 during an Aug. 17 meeting. Member cities will pay $2.92 per 1,000 gallons during FY 2018-19 as compared to the proposed $3.06 rate. The 13 member cities currently pay $2.78 per 1,000 gallons.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Oil field wastewater breaches firewall during disposal well fire in Atascosa Count

Aug. 24 — Oil field wastewater breached a firewall that had been built around storage tanks as a safety feature.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Energy Choice Matters: AEP Texas Merger Savings Credit To REPs Takes Effect On Interim Basis
Aug. 27 — The AEP Texas merger savings credit is intended to refund savings for its central division and north division related to lower debt issuance savings achieved from the AEP Texas merger approved in Docket No. 46050 – Application of AEP Texas Central Company, AEP Texas North Company, and AEP Utilities, Inc. for Approval of Merger.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Smart Cities Drive: Autonomous Shuttle Service Expands in Arlington, TX

Aug. 27 — Three of the three-passenger self-driving vans will be available in the city’s entertainment district, serving the parking lots for major stadiums and the “day-to-day mobility needs for residents.” The vans will travel in a geo-fenced area at up to 35 miles per hour, with safety operators on board during the initial phase.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Quartz: El Paso is drinking its own sewage to fight climate change

Aug. 23 — El Paso, Texas, a land of scarce rainfall—it’s drier than Windhoek, Namibia, the capital of the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa—is charging into potable reuse with near-religious zeal. The border city (population 700,000), which shares a river and groundwater with its sister city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has been building up to this moment for decades.

— Quartz

 

Houston Chronicle: Court fight shows breaking up hard to do for NRG, electricity sales firm

Aug. 22 — For about 15 years, the Houston sales company 7 Point Group sold electricity door-to-door, at grocery stores and during special events on behalf of NRG, the largest electricity seller in Texas, with brands such as Reliant Energy, Green Mountain Energy and Pennywise Power.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Investor-owned utility company customers saving billions under tax reform

Aug. 20 — Federal tax reform is expected to save investor-owned utility companies billions of dollars over the next five years while their customers get a break on their light bills, a new report shows.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Utility Dive: Dems question FERC over chief of staff role in coal, nuke bailout

Aug. 23 — Two prominent Congressional Democrats asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday for an explanation for statements made recently by its chief of staff, Anthony Pugliese, saying they “call into question the impartiality and independence of the Commission.”

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Lithium-ion battery deployments to increase 800% from 2017 to 2022

Aug. 23 — Meanwhile, manufacturers are embracing new technological advances that help increase the energy density of batteries. Thirdly, used EV batteries will supply the market with another source of cheap batteries, said the report authors, GTM energy storage analyst Mitalee Gupta and Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage at GTM.

— Utility Dive

 

Axios: Why “crashing the grid” doesn’t keep cyber experts awake at night

Aug. 23 — Reality check:The people tasked with protecting U.S. electrical infrastructure say the scenario where hackers take down the entire grid — the one that’s also the plot of the “Die Hard” movie where Bruce Willis blows up a helicopter by launching a car at it — is not a realistic threat. And focusing on the wrong problem means we’re not focusing on the right ones.

— Axios

 

The Orange Leader: Elevation of substation control houses and other equipment is ongoing

Aug. 22 — Even before the clouds passed, the rain ended and the final power outage was restored, Entergy employees came together to plan. First, Entergy worked to help customers and employees rebuild stronger communities. Entergy employees also worked to rebuild a stronger electric system. In the past year, Entergy Texas has taken steps to protect electric infrastructure, and improve restoration efforts following extreme weather.

— Orange Leader

 

Smart Cities Dive: US Conference of Mayors condemn EPA Clean Power Plan replacement

Aug. 23 — The non-partisan organization, which represents cities with a population of 30,000 or more, said the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change is having a “very real impact” on the “health and economic vitality of our communities.

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Energy Choice Matters: Pure Energy To Hold Utility Scale Solar Auction In Texas

Aug. 23 — Texas-based Pure Energy, which represents a portfolio of utility scale solar projects in the ERCOT market, will hold a utility scale solar project auction in Dallas, Texas on Monday, October 1st, 2018.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas Retail Provider Relinquishes REP Certificate

Aug. 20 — Hino Electric Power Company has not provided retail electric service to any customers since February 2018.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas Retail Provider To Pay $50,000 Under Switch-Hold Settlement With PUC

Aug. 20 — The settlement states that in 91 instances during 2014 in which Source warrants that it entered into “deferred payment plans” with customers, “Source and the customer entered an agreement requiring each customer to pay the outstanding bill after its due date, but before the due date of the next bill.”

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: Luminant To Pay $1.1 Million Under Settlement With Texas PUC

Aug. 20 — The settlement states that, on July 30, August 5, August 11, and August 12, 2015, fifteen Luminant quick start units at the Permian Basin, Morgan Creek, and DeCordova generation sites simultaneously telemetered a down ramp rate of zero when operating near maximum capacity.
The settlement states that because of the zero down ramp rate, during this time, ERCOT’s Security-Constrained Economic Dispatch (SCED) was prevented from dispatching the units down.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Utility Dive: Trump expected to roll out Clean Power Plan replacement this week

Aug. 20 – The Environmental Protection Agency will release proposed carbon emission regulations for the power sector this week, multiple news outlets report, continuing a rollback of environmental rules put in place by the Obama administration.

— Utility Dive

 

Politico: Fuzzy math could doom Trump’s attack on Obama climate rule

Aug. 16 — The Trump administration’s plan to roll back Obama regulations calls for altering the cost-benefit balance, but that opens the door to legal challenges.

— Politico

 

Utility Dive: Modernizing renewables mandates is no longer about the megawatts

Aug. 16 — RPSs were conceived as a means to drive the market for renewables to achieve policy goals like reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and increasing power system reliability through resource diversity. As the supply of renewables has expanded, states like Massachusetts and Arizona are experimenting with new policies to achieve the same goals in new ways.

— Utility Dive

 

Smart Cities Dive: Houston public safety team reflects on 3-day cyberattack simulation

Aug. 16 — The city conducted the Jack Voltaic 2.0 exercise to answer a simple question: “If all sectors are under a coordinated cyber attack, would we be aware and able to handle it from within?”

— Smart Cities Dive

 

Utility Dive: Glick ‘at a loss’ over FERC role in Trump coal and nuclear bailout

Aug. 16 — Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Richard Glick said Wednesday he has no knowledge of efforts at his agency to assist the Trump administration in bailing out money-losing coal and nuclear plants.

— Utility Dive

 

Bangor Daily News (Maine): New electricity shopping sites mislead customers, watchdog warns

A series of websites and services are cropping up to help customers navigate the electricity market, providing price listings from different companies in one place. But the top consumer watchdog in Connecticut — a more mature market for home electricity sales — is skeptical the sites have shoppers’ best interests in mind.

– Bangor Daily News

 

Dallas Morning News: Dear PUC: Don’t abandon Texans struggling to shop for electricity

Aug 16 — Not so at the (Public) Utility Commission, where two of the three commissioners made comments this month that are the equivalent of unfurling a white flag and heading to the nearest flagpole.

— Dallas Morning News

 

The Eagle: BTU to begin offering customers all-renewable option

Aug. 15 — Renewable energy from wind and solar farms makes up about 5 percent of BTU’s generation supply portfolio, and some customers have requested an all-renewable option. BTU’s new rate schedule goes into effect in October and includes the new renewable-only option, which is estimated to cost roughly 2 cents more per kilowatt hour.

— Bryan College Station Eagle

 

Odessa American: Odessa receives tax refund check through TCAP Membership

Aug. 15 — The City of Odessa recently received a refund of about $52,000 after an audit of energy consuming facilities operated by Texas Coalition for Affordable Power members. TCAP is a nonprofit purchasing consortium of cities and other political subdivisions that have come together to negotiate better prices and service terms for electricity procured for their own governmental use, the release stated. TCAP’s political subdivision members receive electricity through procurement contracts, access to leading power market consultants, legislative advocacy and savings.

— Odessa American

 

Houston Chronicle: Utilities back out of deal to create smart home electricity networks

Aug. 13 — Utilities made a promise several years ago when they built Smart Meter Texas that they’d come up with a way for consumers to monitor their electricity use in real time. But now they’re backing out of the deal with the approval of state regulators, leaving in the lurch retail power companies that are building their business model on the promise of real time pricing and denying consumers another option for managing their electricity costs.

— Houston Chronicle

 

 

Utility Dive: Deciding the fate of California’s utilities and customer choice movement

Aug. 14 — The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is determining how ratepayers should compensate utilities for procured generation if they move to customer choice organizations. The latest development came on Aug. 2, when the CPUC issued a proposed decision that would redefine the charge CCAs and DAs have to pay when customers migrate to them from traditional investor-owned utilities. And the old-school power companies are not pleased.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Power Worth Less Than Zero Spreads as Green Energy Floods the Grid

Aug. 5 — With wind and solar farms sprouting up in more areas — and their power getting priority to feed into the grid in many places — the amount of electricity being generated is outstripping demand during certain hours of the day.

— Bloomberg

 

Bloomberg: Trump Officials Helped Edit ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Report to Boost Coal

Aug. 9 — They prodded authors at one of the Energy Department’s national labs to highlight past electrical outages from natural gas-fired power and emphasize planned coal plant closures as part of the analysis, according to newly released correspondence.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: An offer utilities can’t refuse: The low cost of utility-scale solar

Aug. 9 — Utilities have long played a central role in U.S. wind growth, which has tripled since 2007 to reach almost 89 GW of cumulative installed capacity. In the same time period, utilities added 42 GW of solar to the grid, including 7.4 GW in 2017.

— Utility Dive

 

CleanTechnica: AEP Pulls Plug On 2 Gigawatt Oklahoma Wind Catcher Project After Texas Denies Approval

Aug. 10 — American Electric Power announced in late July that it was cancelling development of its 2 gigawatt (GW) Wind Catcher onshore wind farm after the Texas Public Utility Commission denied regulatory approval.

– Clean Technica

 

Reuters: Texas natgas prices drop as production and pipeline constraints grow

Aug. 9 — The natural gas price in the Permian Basin in west Texas has slumped so low this year that the annual average is on track for its lowest in 19 years, pummeled by record production and pipeline constraints that also have stymied crude transport out of the region.
— Reuters

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas regulators improve Power to Choose website but threaten to scrap it if changes don’t work

Aug. 9 — The Texas Coalition for Affordable Power praised the PUC’s actions today and urged commitment to the website.
“The website is owned by the public, and as such the public has a right to expect that it remains transparent and free of deceiving offers,” R.A. Dyer, policy analyst for the coalition, said in a statement.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Utility regulators ask whether Texas needs Power to Choose?

Aug. 9 — The commission did not act on Walker’s suggestion. But the idea didn’t sit well with the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a group that buys electricity on behalf of municipal governments in Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Antonio Express News: AEP Texas seeking to recover Harvey damages, may lead to higher rates

Aug. 8 — AEP Texas is asking the state to allow it to raise rates to cover some $415 million in costs the utility incurred to repair damages to power lines, poles and and transmission facilities caused by Hurricane Harvey last year.

– San Antonio Express-News

 

Houston Chronicle: Regulators take aim at pricing gimmicks on Power to Choose

Aug. 8 — State regulators are considering a modest upgrade to the electricity shopping website Power to Choose that would filter out some of the more blatant pricing gimmicks that have raised the ire of consumers who find themselves getting hit with unexpectedly high costs

— Houston Chronicle

 

Platts: Wind helped ERCOT with July heat wave, but probably won’t in August

Aug. 7 — Strong wind generation helped the Electric Reliability Council of Texas system cope with the mid-July heat wave with high prices, but such wind capacity is unlikely to be available if another heat wave strikes in August, board members were told Tuesday.

— Platts

 

Utility Dive: FERC working with White House, NSC on coal and nuclear bailout

Aug. 9 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is working with the White House, Department of Energy and the National Security Council to identify power plants that are critical to the grid, FERC Chief of Staff Anthony Pugliese told a nuclear conference this week, according to E&E News.

— Utility Dive

 

Texas Monthly: Electric Deregulation is Working in Texas, Says Lawmaker Who Led the Effort

Aug. 6: We checked in with former state Representative Steve Wolens, who helped drive the deregulation process through the Texas House in 1999.

— Texas Monthly

 

Platts: ERCOT supply tightness, strong PJM capacity market boost NRG earnings

Aug. 2 — NRG has also been able to exploit opportunities to sell power in ERCOT’s forward market for the summers of 2019 and 2020 at attractive prices, Gutierrez said, which gives the company greater revenue stability and enables it to invest in generation reliability.

— Platts

 

ARS Technica: FCC sides with Google Fiber over Comcast with new pro-competition rule

Aug. 2 — The FCC’s One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) rules will let companies attach wires to utility poles without waiting for the other users of the pole to move their own wires. Google Fiber says its deployment has stalled in multiple cities because Comcast and AT&T take a long time to get poles ready for new attachers. One Touch Make Ready rules let new attachers make all of the necessary wire adjustments themselves.

— ARS Technica

 

Austin American-Statesman Commentary: Myth, not renewable energy, generates Georgetown’s buzz

Aug. 2 — Even though renewable energy’s reliability issues are mitigated by the existence of dispatchable energy sources such as coal and natural gas, the system is only kept afloat by citizens being forced to pay for the backup. And the greater renewable energy use grows, the more expensive and unsustainable the system becomes.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Associated Press: Separate ruptures led to Texas pipeline blasts that hurt 7

Aug. 2 — The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates pipelines in the state, said Thursday that El Paso Natural Gas owns one of the pipelines operated by Kinder Morgan. That line crossed with another operated by Navitas Midstream about 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of Midland.

— Associated Press

 

Houston Chronicle: How Texas power grid weathered blazing heat, record electricity demand

Aug. 2 — This summer was supposed to be brutal with days of triple-digit temperatures, less generating capacity and predictions the power grid couldn’t support the state’s electricity needs. Some of the dire warnings were spot on, as Texas broke records for heat and electricity use during the heat wave last month.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Energy Choice Matters: Texas PUC Staff Propose Changes to Power To Choose

Aug. 1 — In a memo to Commissioners, Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have recommended a series of changes to the Power to Choose website.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Staff Propose Workshop on Real-Time Co-Optimization

Aug. 1 — Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have proposed a process for the Commission to consider real-time co-optimization of energy and ancillary services in ERCOT and to consider including marginal losses in security-constrained economic dispatch

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Forbes: Are High Oil Prices Starting To Hurt Wind Power?

Aug. 1 — Texas regulators ultimately turned down the project partly because of a perceived lack of direct benefits to Texas ratepayers for an Oklahoma wind farm with a dedicated power line servicing Tulsa. Much of the discussion at the PUCT, however, revolved around the underlying natural gas prices in the project proponent’s economic model, which raises an interesting point about the future of wind project economics in a low-cost natural gas world.

— Forbes

 

Dallas Morning News: In wake of gas-leak crisis, what Atmos has here is a failure to communicate

July 31 — Atmos Energy Corp. owes area residents more information about its efforts to find and fix weaknesses in its massive network of natural gas lines, especially now that its latest filing with state regulators reveals a surge in hazardous leaks throughout Dallas County in the first half of this year.

— Dallas Morning News

 

 

Energy Choice Matters: NRG “Always” Looking To Acquire Retail Books

Aug. 1 — Asked by an analyst about NRG’s recent acquisitions of several customer books from Texas retail providers, Gutierrez said, “This is just the normal course of business, we’re always looking for books that we can add to our retail business, and that’s what they were.”

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Houston Chronicle: CenterPoint: Monopoly utility or competitive power seller? A little bit of both, it turns out

July 31 — The Texas law that deregulated the state’s power market set up three distinct areas: generation and retail sales, both which invite companies to compete for shares of these markets, and distribution, which is controlled by a single utility in each market. The state Public Utility Commission oversees distribution utilities, such as CenterPoint in Houston and Oncor in Dallas, limits the profits they can earn from their monopoly operations and mostly prohibits them from directly participating in the other sectors.

— Houston Chronicle

 

WFAA: Atmos pipe replacement in northwest Dallas to continue through 2019

July 30 — Atmos initiated an unprecedented mass replacement of gas mains and gas service lines, effectively shutting of gas service to as many as 2,800 homes for up to a month. Now, Atmos indicates that process will continue to expand.

— WFAA

 

Utility Dive: Electric vehicle and stationary storage batteries begin to diverge as performance priorities evolve

Aug. 1 — Separate markets could evolve as EVs push for batteries with higher density and stationary storage seeks higher cycling capability.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Puerto Rico utility’s new deal to relieve about $9B of debt

Aug. 1 — Puerto Rico’s bankrupt utility will get relief under an arrangement between the island’s government, bondholders and an oversight board, which would move about $9 billion in debt into two new securities, at a significant reduction in value.

— Utility Dive

 

Reuters: Solar panel glut is muting effect of Trump tariffs

July 30 — A steep global decline in the price of solar modules in recent weeks is nearly offsetting the effect of the Trump administration’s 30 percent tariff on imported panels, the chief executive of a major U.S. solar company said on Monday.

— Reuters

 

Hillsboro Reporter: ERCOT Urges Conservation As Temps Soar

July 30 — With sweltering heat driving temperatures above the century mark in recent days, the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) requested that electricity consumers make an effort to reduce energy demand during peak hours.

— Hillsboro Reporter

 

Dallas Morning News: Atmos’ gas leaks go far beyond one northwest Dallas neighborhood.

July 29 — Atmos inherited an aging system when it acquired Lone Star Gas Co. from TXU in 2004, said Geoffrey Gay, a lawyer who represents more than 150 cities in rate negotiations with the utility.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Power Magazine: High Summer Temperatures Send CAISO and ERCOT Scrambling to Maintain Grid Reliability

July 26 — At the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the entity that manages the flow of power for 90% of Texas’s electric load, a new record for all-time system-wide peak demand was set during two hours in the afternoon on July 19. The demand record topped out at 73,259 MW. It was the first time peak demand exceeded 73,000 MW in the region, ERCOT noted.

— Power Magazine

 

Washington Post: Plan for $4.5B wind farm scrapped after regulator’s denial

July 27 — American Electric Power said it was cancelling plans for the 2,000-megawatt Wind Catcher wind farm, which would have spanned two counties in the Oklahoma panhandle and provided power to customers in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The move came a day after the Public Utility Commission of Texas denied approval of the project, which had already won approval from regulators in Arkansas and Louisiana. A decision was pending before an Oklahoma regulatory panel.

— Washington Post

 

Axios: Trump’s manic energy policy

July 29 — During White House discussions about renewable energy, President Trump has declared — more than once and to the amusement of senior administration officials — “I hate the wind!”

— Axios

 

Utility Dive: How vulnerable is the grid to cyber attacks, really?

July 25 — The announcement, made during an unclassified DHS web briefing, stoked some of the worst fears of power sector leaders — namely of a coordinated attack to compromise electricity delivery across broad swaths of the United States. Security concerns are a central focus for utility leaders, who rank them as the top issue facing the industry in sector surveys.

— Utility Dive

 

Hays Free-Press: Despite record-breaking heat wave, PEC service remains undisrupted

July 25 — Despite a record-breaking heat wave in Central Texas last week, Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) officials said service remained undisrupted.
A peak high energy forecast lasted from July 19 to 23, leading PEC to push out information via social media about conservation methods customers could use to do their part to prevent service blackouts, spokesman Mike Viesca said.

— Hays Free Press

 

Weatherford Democrat: Co-Op recommends energy efficiency tips

July 24 — On Thursday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas set an all-time system-wide peak demand record, which reached 73,259 megawatts between 4-5 p.m. The previous record — 71,438 megawatts between 3-4 p.m. — was set within the past month.

— Weatherford Democrat

 

E&E News: Here’s how Trump’s ‘greatest’ tariffs can hike emissions

July 25 — Slowing the construction of pipelines could have a more immediate effect on the climate: Oil bottlenecks in the Permian are increasing the use of flaring. Burning methane, a byproduct of producing oil, is a potent contributor to global warming. Existing pipelines are mostly at capacity, so the state regulator — the Texas Railroad Commission — is weighing whether to ease restrictions on flaring natural gas.

— E&E News

 

NBC DFW: Help Available for People Who Cannot Afford Sky High Electric Bills

July 23 — This high heat – 10 straight days of triple digit temperatures in Dallas-Fort Worth – will soon result in some spiked electricity bills for people who have adjusted their air conditioning levels accordingly.

— NBC DFW

 

KFOX 14: Is El Paso Electric passing on its big tax cut to customers?

July 24 –The answer is yes.

— KFOX 14

 

Platts: ERCOT sets more power demand records, quadruple-digit real-time power 

July 24 — After setting all-time peak-load records last Wednesday and Thursday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas set more records Saturday and Sunday with real-time prices at quadruple-digits, leading to Monday’s forecast of another new record in the afternoon, with reserve levels likely to cause concern.

— Platts

 

KCEN: Should you consider a new electric plan?

July 24 — you have a electric plan with a variable or indexed rate you may be paying more this summer. There is no limit to the amount these plans can vary in price once you start. Public Utility Commission of Texas spokesman Andrew Barlow told Channel 6 external factors that affect wholesale electricity prices, such as plants shutting down, can affect market rates.

— KCEN TV

 

Politifact: Texas Railroad Commission has nothing to do with railroads
July 19 — It’s widely known the commission regulates oil and gas drilling and production, well plugging and site remediation, pipeline safety and damage prevention, surface mining of coal and uranium, gas utility rates and alternative fuels.

— Politifact

 

Utility Dive: Russian hackers infiltrated utility control rooms, DHS says

July 24 — Russian hackers infiltrated the control rooms of multiple electric utilities over the past year, gaining the ability to cause blackouts and grid disruptions, officials from the Department of Homeland Security said on a Monday web briefing.

— Utility Dive

 

Wall Street Journal: Russian Hackers Reach U.S. Utility Control Rooms, Homeland Security Officials Say

July 23 — Blackouts could have been caused after the networks of trusted vendors were easily penetrated.

— Wall Street Journal

 

KUT 90.5 FM: Texas Is Using A Record Amount Of Electricity. Could Demand Outpace Supply?

July 20 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said in a statement Friday that it “has issued an advisory to power companies in advance of the extreme heat anticipated over the weekend and into next week.” That came as the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning or heat advisory for almost the entire state. Friday’s high temperature was expected to reach 107 degrees in Dallas, 104 degrees in Austin and 100 degrees in Houston.

— KUT

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas leaders must realize that the retail electricity shopping system must be fixed

July 21 — Often, companies game the site’s search engine by creating low-priced plans so that those appear first in PowerToChoose search results. But the supposed bargains often include seldom-noticed terms and conditions that make power bills much higher.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Bloomberg: Sizzling U.S. Heat Strains Power Grids, Withers Texas Cotton

July 19 — It’s so hot in Texas that the power grid keeps breaking demand records, and it’s forecast to get so warm in California next week that natural gas prices have risen to a nine-year seasonal high.

— Bloomberg

 

KWTX: AC units are working overtime; so are the local technicians who fix them

July 19 — Peak demand reached 73,259 megawatts between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday, 1,000 megawatts more than the peak record set on Wednesday.

— KWTX

 

CBS DFW: Texas Utility In ‘Storm Mode’; Could Pre-Position Crews Due To Excessive Heat

July 20 — Storm Mode is an internal designation Oncor uses when there’s the expectation of severe thunder or snow/ice storms that they also use for excessive heat.

— CBS DFW

 

Dallas Morning News: Here’s a plan to help you shop for cheap electricity in Texas

July 19 — Getting these changes through the Texas Legislature is as tough as an old cowboy boot. In 2011, a proposal “did not even receive committee votes,” the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power reported in a recent study.

— Dallas Morning News

 

KTRK TV: Energy companies offering conservation tips in wake of hot temperatures

July 19 — While conservation is strongly encouraged, CenterPoint Energy says it applies most to non-essential usage or usage that could be delayed. Any usage for health and safety reasons should remain a priority.

— KTRK TV

 

Hill Country News: Cedar Park reviewing Atmos Energy rate increase plan

July 18 — A planned rate increase affecting Atmos Energy customers in Cedar Park won’t take effect, at least until October. The city council voted to postpone the increase and attempt to negotiate the specifics of the rate proposal at its June 28 meeting, and the city is taking action to minimize the impact to residential customers.

— Hill Country News

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Time to order a methane monitor

July 16 — On the Denton map, I could see that our neighborhood street still had steel pipes, which surprised me. Our neighborhood was built in the 1960s, so that was the right time for steel pipe. But our street was rebuilt late last year. Before the city street crew got to work, an Atmos crew came through.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: As technology upends grid fundamentals, is load forecasting a crap shoot?

July 18 — For decades, the United States saw its demand for electricity rise at steep and steady rates. From the 1950s through the 70s, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says demand often increased by more than 5% — faster than the economy grew. In the 1980s and 90s, growth slowed but still ticked along at 2% to 3% annually.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Republicans Move to Kill Carbon Tax Before It Gains Steam

July 18 — The House is slated to vote as soon as Wednesday afternoon on a resolution offered by Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, condemning the very idea of a carbon tax as “detrimental” to the U.S. economy.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Texas electricity sellers slow to reflect lower costs in published rates

July 17 — If you’ve been shopping around for an electricity providers, the rates may be cheaper than they appear on Power to Choose, the website run by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

San Antonio Express-News: Heat wave gives Texas new July power use record

July 16 — Texas’ power use broke a record for July Monday afternoon as the mercury soared into the high 90s and triple digits across most of the state.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Utility Dive: Has FERC’s landmark transmission planning effort made transmission building harder?

July 17 — Order 1000 was issued in July 2011, a result of concerns about emerging demands on the nation’s aging power infrastructure. Load flattened after the 2008 economic recession, but by 2011, it was clear transmission was inadequate to serve the renewables generation beginning to replace outdated fossil fuel-burning power plants.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: As corporate PPAs surge, consultants aim to bring lower prices

July 16 – A lack of transparency and reliance on bilateral deals could mean corporations are leaving money on the table.

— Utility Dive

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Map reveals Atmos Energy using steel pipe for natural gas service in much of Denton

July 15 — The map shows that Denton’s system has no cast-iron pipe, the type Atmos plans to completely replace in the Dallas area by 2023. The company began replacing steel and cast-iron pipe in North Texas seven years ago. Several explosions around the region between 2006 and 2009 killed four people in their homes and injured several others, triggering the replacement plan.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

San Antonio Express-News: Virginia company to build $1.2 billion Panhandle wind farm

July 13 — Apex Clean Energy will build two 400 megawatt wind projects in Moore County north of Amarillo, starting in 2021 with planned completion of the project set to be in late 2021, according to spokeswoman Cat Strumlauf.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

Big Country: Texans reminded to call 811 before digging

July 12 — A statewide group striving to prevent gas leaks warns of the risks that come with working on construction or yard projects without calling 811 first. Though getting the green light to dig does not mean homeowners or excavators are in the clear.

— Big Country

 

RTO Insider: Texas Regulators Fear Customer Risk from Wind Catcher

July 15 — Regulators threw a wrench in American Electric Power’s massive Wind Catcher Energy Connection on Thursday, expressing concerns over whether the company will protect ratepayers from the project’s risks.

— RTO Insider

 

Dallas Morning News: Trump should stay out of Texas’ deregulated electricity market

July 13 — We’ve watched in astonishment the past few years as the free market for electricity has brought Texas consumers everything politicians promised: cleaner air, newer technology and lower electricity bills. So when the Trump administration directs Energy Secretary Rick Perry to interfere, it is deeply disappointing.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Cottage industry rises from complexity of choosing electricity plans

July 13 — When Texas deregulated electricity markets 16 years ago, the Public Utility Commission created the website Power to Choose to help consumers through the power buying experience. But what was promoted as an easy, free way for Texans to pick electricity providers has turned into a such a complex and confounding experience that it is spawning a cottage industry to help consumers navigate the scores of companies and hundreds of plans available.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Dallas deploys electric bus fleet

July 13 — The buses run on a 19-mile loop on the D-Link route, with scheduled stops to charge at the Dallas Convention Center. Batteries stored on the top and bottom of the buses can fully recharge in less than 10 minutes to cover the full length of the route.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: New investor-backed campaign targets a trillion dollars for US renewables

July 13 — There may be a trillion-dollar opportunity in U.S. renewable energy.
The “phenomenally abundant” mix of wind, solar and other renewables makes the U.S. one of the most likely places in the world for more investment, according to Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

— Utility Dive

 

Los Angeles Times: The roiled solar power market shows how Trump’s tariffs can disrupt an industry

July 7 — A 30% U.S. tariff on imported solar panels put in place last winter should have caused prices here to jump. But when tariffs are unleashed, as businesses are learning, things don’t always go as expected.

— Los Angeles Times

 

San Antonio Business Journal: MMEX plans to add solar farm to West Texas refinery project

July 10 — The solar farm would supply excess power to the electricity grid.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Associated Press: Exelon Appoints John F. Young to Board of Directors

July 9 — Young, 61, served as president and chief executive officer of Energy Future Holdings Corp. from 2008 to 2016. Energy Future Holdings was a Dallas-based energy company with a portfolio of competitive generation and regulated utility businesses.

— Associated Press

 

D Magazine: Why You Need to Know Allen Nye

July 2018: Because he oversees the biggest transmission and distribution utility in Texas, servicing about 40 percent of the state geographically—including 410 communities in 120 counties—with more than 3,700 employees.

— D Magazine

 

Houston Business Journal: Houston to host global gas conference in 2019

July 10 — The conference hasn’t been in Houston for the past 19 years.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Reuters: Supreme Court nominee has been a foe of emissions rules

July 10 — Brett Kavanaugh, nominated on Monday to be a Supreme Court justice by U.S. President Donald Trump, is a long-time skeptic of business regulations, especially on rules limiting harmful emissions, although he has called global warming an “urgent” issue.

— Reuters

 

Dallas Morning News: What happens when the coal economy dies?

July 8 — The closing of the coal-fired Sandow power plant and the mine that fed it — widely seen by outsiders as another gasp of a dying industry — forced Montelongo to find work six hours away from his family.

— Dallas Morning News

 

KXII: Atmos says no gas leak in Tioga

July 7 — Atmos Energy says what Tioga residents thought could have been a gas leak Friday was just a product of routine maintenance and there is no reason for concern.

— KXII

 

CBS DFW: Scammers Targeting Oncor Customers In Dallas Neighborhood

July 6 — Scammers are targeting Oncor customers in a Dallas neighborhood, asking for personal information. It happened earlier this week on Kellogg Avenue.

— CBS DFW

 

Utility Dive: As California customer choice expands, are reliability and affordability at risk?

July 9 — Many say the disruption from multiplying power providers in California could also put the state’s decarbonization achievements at risk.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Despite renewables gains, gas leads new US generation

July 8 — Despite the rise of renewable energy and the struggles of older plants such as coal, the United States’ energy infrastructure remains dominated by fossil fuels, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) May infrastructure update.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Berkeley lab turns out comprehensive estimate of efficiency cost — and it’s cheap

July 7 — The figure is highly variable, depending on geography and demographics, but on average it costs $0.025 to save a kilowatt-hour of electricity, according to research from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The analysis looked at efficiency programs funded by customers of investor-owned utilities.

— Utility Dive

 

Inside Climate News: Zombie Coal Plants Show Why Trump’s Emergency Plan Is No Cure-All

July 9 — Two old Virginia power plants already operate under federal emergency authority. They don’t meet pollution standards, and one failed and has been offline for weeks.

— Inside Climate News

 

Wall Street Journal: Acting EPA Chief Plans to Stick With Trump’s Priorities

July 6 — The acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday he plans to stick with President Donald Trump’s priorities, including changing the Clean Power Plan, de-emphasizing climate-change initiatives and improving how the agency deals with polluters and environmental crises.

— Wall Street Journal

 

Associated Press: Xcel Energy buys Hale Wind Project in Texas Panhandle

July 5 — The Texas Panhandle is getting another wind farm to generate electricity for the state and for New Mexico.

— Associated Press

 

Houston Chronicle: How a little time and effort can save you money

July 6 — Shopping for electricity saves my family a lot of money. For more than a year now, we’ve been able to keep our summer electricity bills below $100 a month and in the cooler months, below $40. Our savings comes primarily from signing up for promotional deals on Power to Choose, the website managed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and then finding another offer when the last one expires.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Pruitt departure could boost Trump deregulatory agenda at EPA

July 5 — Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has resigned his post as the nation’s top environmental regulator, President Trump announced Thursday on Twitter.

— Utility Dive

 

New York Times: E.P.A. Drafts Rule on Coal Plants to Replace Clean Power Plan

July 5 — The Trump administration has drafted a new proposal to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, one that is far less stringent than the climate plan finalized in 2015 by former President Barack Obama.

— The New York Times

 

Bloomberg: Trump Plan to Save Coal May Put Lives at Risk From Pollution

July 5 — The Trump administration’s plan to keep money-losing power plants open would save coal mining jobs but at the same time unleash more pollution that would cost lives, according to a new analysis.

— Bloomberg

 

KFDA: Electric company files notice to send electricity to downstate Texas

July 5 — A utility company wants to send energy downstate by connecting two of its transmission lines to wind farms currently in development.

— KFDA

 

EastTexasMatters: ERCOT sets a new July peak demand record

July 4 — As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 570+ generation units.

— EastTexasMatters.Com

 

NBC-DFW: Texas Sets New Record for Energy Use on Tuesday

July 3 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said the record was set between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

— NBC DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: It pays to switch power plans but few Houstonians do

July 3 — That phenomenon has played out in Texas electricity markets, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power which buys electricity on behalf of municipal governments in Texas. As result, customers in regulated markets such as San Antonio and Austin on average pay less for electricity than those in deregulated markets like Houston, according to the coalition.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Xcel Energy to keep Texas rates flat

July 2 — The effect of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and lower debt costs will keep Xcel Energy base energy rates unchanged this year, reads a Monday news release from the energy provider.

— Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

 

KFYO 95.1: XCEL ENERGY BASE RATES FOR CUSTOMERS TO REMAIN FLAT IN 2018

July 3 — Xcel Energy has announced that base energy rates for its customers will remain unchanged this year despite expectations to the contrary.

— KFYO

 

Utility Dive: Surging heat fuels power demand records in 3 US markets

July 5 — Multiple U.S. electricity markets reported record demand this week as higher temperatures pushed up power usage around the July 4 holiday.

— Utility Dive

 

Associated Press: Maine’s public advocate skeptical of $2.5 billion plan to ‘harden’ power grid

July 4 — Central Maine Power says it would boost reliability in the face of harsh weather, but Barry Hobbins says the utility will have to ensure that ratepayers don’t cover too much of the cost.

— Associated Press

 

Utility Dive: How FERC’s ‘unprecedented’ PJM order could unravel capacity markets

July 3 — The landmark order echoes longstanding arguments from the coal and gas sector, but observers say it could end up a boon for renewables and nuclear.

— Utility Dive

 

Dallas Morning News: Texas to scrutinize ‘misleading’ electricity plans on Power to Choose website

June 29 — Jake Dyer, a spokesman for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, said that if companies offered deals that truly averaged 2.3 cents or 2.4 cents, they would go bankrupt.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Think shopping for electric rates is confusing? So does the chair of the PUC

June 29 — R.A. Dyer, a policy analyst with the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a coalition of cities and political subdivisions that have joined together to purchase electricity, said the organization applauded the commission for responding to the complaints.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

The Mexia News: City to try to keep Atmos rate increase low

July 2 — Mexia City Council approved a resolution to suspend for 90 days the effective date of a rate-increase request from Atmos Energy and also oppose two other moves by Atmos to increase its income at the city’s expense.

— The Mexia News

Houston Chronicle: NRG drops power plans after tough talk from Texas regulators

June 29 — A day after Texas regulators slammed retail electric providers for peddling “misleading” offers on PowertoChoose.org, the website run by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the biggest electricity seller in Texas removed its attention-getting offers from the site.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Weatherford Democrat: Bringing broadband to rural Texas has challenges

June 29 — The lack of rural broadband internet access — technically, broadband is at least a 25 Mbps download speed and 3 Mbps upload speed, but one FCC definition characterizes it as “high-speed internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access” — has become significant enough that Texas politicians are now mentioning the need for improvement in speeches and featuring it on their websites.

— Weatherford Democrat

 

Austin American-Statesman: Round Rock, Pflugerville vote to review Atmos Energy rate increase

June 29 — The Round Rock and Pflugerville city councils voted this week to participate with other cities contracting with Atmos Energy to postpone a proposed $46 million system-wide rate increase to the company’s service rates.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Bloomberg: Solar Titans Flop When They Climb to Top

June 21 — In the past decade alone, four different companies — all Chinese — have surged to the top of the heap, becoming the biggest solar maker in the world, only to subsequently fall flat and get overtaken by an up-and-comer.

— Bloomberg

 

Energy Wire: Coal plants’ vulnerabilities are largely unknown to feds

June 25 — The Department of Energy is pushing to bail out struggling coal and nuclear power plants on national security grounds, warning of security problems with their main competitor: natural gas. But are “fuel secure” coal plants really faring better than their gas-fired counterparts in the battle against hackers?

— Energy Wire

 

Utility Dive: As the power sector transforms, can utilities and customers find common ground on ratemaking?

July 2 — The contention between customer advocates and utilities takes place within the confines of electric utility commission proceedings in rate cases. Those rate cases often go unobserved by the broad public. But all the headline debates and regulatory fireworks over whether to support coal and nuclear or natural gas and renewable energy largely come down to how they will affect rates.

— Utility Dive

Utility Dive: New material could help turn buildings into power plants

July 2 — A team of researchers at Michigan State University in East Lansing say they have developed a solar window with the potential to reduce a building’s cooling needs, as well as provide power.

— Utility Dive

 

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Think shopping for electric rates is confusing? So does the chair of the PUC

June 29 — R.A. Dyer, a policy analyst with the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, a coalition of cities and political subdivisions that have joined together to purchase electricity, said the organization applauded the commission for responding to the complaints.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

 

Houston Chronicle: Regulators blast electricity providers for deception

June 28 — “We’re really encouraged that they are taking these complaints seriously,” said R.A. Dyer, policy analyst for the Austin-based Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which buys electricity on behalf of municipal governments.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Temple Daily News: Natural gas involved in Coryell Memorial Hospital explosion

June 28 — Natural gas was part of the cause of the Tuesday explosion at Coryell Memorial Hospital that killed a Rogers man and injured 15 other construction workers, a state official confirmed today.

— Temple Daily News

 

Houston Chronicle: Consumers can save $500 a year by shopping wisely for electricity

June 28 — Electricity is all the same. It comes from the same sources across the same wires to your house. Some retailers may have more refined websites . But customers should focus on finding electricity for the lowest average price per kilowatt hour.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Morning News Editorial: A big battery in West Texas might help your electricity bill

June 28 — Texas’ energy market just got supercharged. Vistra Energy, owner of the state’s biggest solar power plant, will add the state’s biggest battery, a move that promises to help stabilize notoriously fickle renewable energy and reduce prices along the way.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Company cancels North Texas wind farms

June 28 — A Canadian renewable energy company has canceled a pair of wind projects near Wichita Falls after a Air Force training base said the project would interfere with its pilot training and radar systems.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KCEN: Railroad Commission links Gatesville Hospital explosion to gas release

June 27 — The Railroad Commission of Texas confirmed Wednesday the Coryell Memorial Hospital explosion that left one dead and 15 injured was related to a natural gas release.

— KCEN

 

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Moody’s puts Sempra on review for a downgrade

June 26 — The move announced Monday comes three months after Sempra spent $9.45 billion to acquire Oncor, the largest utility in Texas, and two weeks after a group of activist investors that control nearly 5 percent of Sempra complained the company is under-performing and called for dramatic corporate restructuring.

— June 26

 

Utility Dive: GE streamlines focus on renewables, gas turbines and power services

June 26 — Its renewables business will focus primarily on wind energy, on and offshore, along with hydroelectricity. The power business will include its gas turbine business, power services and other segments.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: 10th in energy efficiency, US is falling in rank because of Trump’s policies, ACEEE says

June 26 — The country’s score dropped to 55.5 points out of 100, compared with 61.5 in the previous ranking. According to ACEEE, the drop is “due to policy changes and some revisions to our scoring methodology.” It is the first efficiency ranking the group has published since President Trump announced the United States would not participate in the Paris climate accord.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Kinder Morgan’s $2B pipeline to move gas from Permian oil fields

June 25 — Pipeline firm Kinder Morgan, intent on dominating natural gas transportation from West Texas’ booming Permian Basin, on Monday announced plans to build a $2 billion pipeline to deliver gas to Houston, Corpus Christi and Mexican hubs.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Associated Press: US Judge Throws Out Climate Change Lawsuits Against Big Oil

June 25 — A U.S. judge who held a hearing about climate change that received widespread attention ruled Monday that Congress and the president were best suited to address the contribution of fossil fuels to global warming, throwing out lawsuits that sought to hold big oil companies liable for the Earth’s changing environment.

— Associated Press

 

San Antonio Express News: Texas’ largest solar farm will soon get a big battery

June 26 — Los Angeles-based FlexGen will supply the 10 megawatt, 42 megawatt-hour battery for Vistra Energy’s 180 megawatt Upton 2 solar farm in West Texas. The system can provide 10 megawatts an hour for more than four hours. One megawatt can power 200 Texas homes in the summer.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

RTO Insider: Monitor Garza Offers Glimpse of ERCOT in 2018

June 25 — Garza said reserve margins will be tighter this summer than last year, primarily because of the retirement of 4.2 GW of coal generation over the last 12 months. That dropped ERCOT’s planning reserve margin from 18.9% to 9.3% — since increased to 11% — and raised fears of potential shortages during a long, hot summer.

— RTO Insider

 

Texas Tribune: Cryptocurrencies could increase capacity for renewable energy

June 25 — Dealing with intermittency often involves building excess capacity. If you build enough wind turbines, they can still generate a lot of electricity even when the wind isn’t blowing very hard. The downside of excess capacity is that generation has to be curtailed, or “turned-down,” when the wind is blowing full speed and generation exceeds demand. As more turbines are built and the rate of curtailment increases, the economic value of each new wind turbine is less than the one before, making it tough for developers to keep expanding.

— Texas Tribune

 

Athens Daily Review: Electricity sufficient despite heat, Oncor rep says

June 25 — ERCOT is predicting a new peak-demand record for this summer. The grid fell short of setting a new peak record last year, but there have been several in recent history. ERCOT reports the hot weather began early this year, with peak-demand records set in May.

— Athens Daily Review

 

KTRK TV: Pros and cons to smart-home system

June 25 — Summer is officially here and so is the heat along with rising energy costs. Have you considered transforming your home into a smart home?

— KTRK TV

 

Energy Choice Matters: Generator To Pay $5,000 Under Proposed PUC Settlement

June 26 — According to the settlement, at the time of the alleged violations, RES America Developments Inc. (RES) owned Whirlwind Energy, LLC.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Utility Dive: Perry stays vague on DOE’s coal and nuclear bailout progress

June 26 — Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters that details and a timeline for following the president’s directive aimed at saving struggling coal and nuclear plants were not ready to be shared yet.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Sea level rise threatens 2.4M US homes, according to study

June 22 — Sea level rise in the contiguous United States is expected to make tidal flooding worse, which puts 311,000 homes worth about $117.5 billion at risk of chronic flooding over the next 30 years, according to a study from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The number of at-risk homes is projected to climb to 2.4 million, worth $912 billion, by the end of the century.

— Utility Dive

 

Longview News Journal: The East Texas angle

June 24 — At the beginning of this year, electricity generator Luminant cut about 600 jobs as it closed three coal-fired power plants and a mine in the state. That included about 200 who had been employed at a plant near Mount Pleasant in East Texas.

— Longview News Journal

 

Austin American-Statesman: Rising seas may routinely flood over 10,000 Texas homes by 2045

June 22 — State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said the implications of the Union for Concerned Scientists’ report are “spot on” and serve as an “important wake-up call” about a risk that can go unnoticed.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Bloomberg: Texas Is Too Windy and Sunny for Old Energy Companies to Make Money

June 20 — In a windsurfers’ paradise, turbines capture gusts that pick up at exactly the right time – or the wrong time, if you’re trying to sell natural gas.

— Bloomberg

 

San Diego Union-Tribune: Plan for 14-state power grid faces key Senate hearing on Tuesday

June 15 — The proposal to expand California’s power grid to as many as 14 western states faces a key hearing on Tuesday, and two state lawmakers from San Diego will play critical roles in its success or failure.

— San Diego Union-Tribune

 

Bloomberg: Coal Plants Keep Shutting Despite Trump’s Order to Rescue Them

June 18 — President Donald Trump has ordered a rescue of the nation’s struggling coal and nuclear power industries, but that doesn’t mean utilities are reconsidering the shutdown of unprofitable plants.

— Bloomberg

 

Houston Chronicle: Trying to hold electricity deregulation to its promise

June 22 — Sixteen years ago, Texas deregulated the electricity market at the urging of power companies and big industrial users. Consumers could shop for the best deals, the companies assured Texas lawmakers, and benefit by getting lower prices.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Reuters: Energy Future Holdings asks district court to dismiss appeal by asbestos claimants

June 21 — Energy Future Holdings Corp, once Texas’ biggest power company, has asked the U.S. District Court of Delaware to dismiss an appeal filed by a group of asbestos personal injury claimants, calling it “moot” and an “improper attack.”

— Reuters

 

Reuters: ERCOT expects Texas power demand to break June record in heat wave

June 22 — Homes and businesses in Texas are expected to set a daily electricity consumption record for June on Friday as consumers crank up their air conditioners to escape a brutal heat wave, according to the operator of most of the state’s power grid.

— Reuters

 

Longview News Journal: Questions surround SWEPCO wind project

June 21 — The Wind Catcher project involves SWEPCO’s purchase of an interest in a wind farm in Oklahoma and then construction of an extra high voltage power line to connect to AEP’s system (SWEPCO’s parent company). That comes with a big price tag — about $4.5 billion according to documents from the PUC. About $3.1 billion of that cost would be SWEPCO’s responsibility, with about $1.1 billion of that pegged for Texas costs.

— Longview News Journal

 

Wharton Journal-Spectator: CenterPoint Energy gears up for hurricane season

June 2 — Hurricane season officially begins today, and just as CenterPoint Energy has an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) should a hurricane strike, the company urges customers to have their own emergency plan as well, particularly if they depend on electricity for life-sustaining equipment.

— Wharton Journal-Spectator

 

Houston Chronicle: Who wants more power? Not NRG, says spurned partner

June 20 — One way NRG is expanding its retail operations is by returning to renewables. NRG has teamed up with solar power producer California-based Cypress Creek Renewables to build three solar facilities in Texas to sell to NRG’s commercial customers.

— Houston Chronicle

 

EDF Blog: As Permian drilling booms, will the Texas Railroad Commission stand against wasted gas?

June 19 — When gas is flared, it releases harmful pollutants like particulate matter and sulfur dioxide. Simply allowing it to leak into the atmosphere is equally problematic. Natural gas contains methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas.

— EDF Blog

 

Utility Dive: World on track for 50% renewables by 2050, says Bloomberg energy outlook

June 19 — A new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts a global electricity supply mostly fueled by carbon-free sources by 2050, with a “chilling” outlook for fossil fuel generators and little hope for a nuclear resurgence with today’s technology.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Moody’s goes negative on regulated utilities for first time, citing tax law impacts

June 19 — Moody’s Investors Service on Monday lowered its outlook on the U.S. regulated utility sector to negative from stable for the first time since it began conducting sector outlooks. The lower outlook reflects what Moody’s sees as increased financial risk due to lower cash flow and holding company leverage for regulated utilities.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Vistra plans largest energy storage project in Texas

June 19 — Vista Energy has revealed plans to develop a 10 MW, 42 MWh lithium-ion battery at a Texas solar plant. It would be the largest energy storage project in the state so far.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Coal Plants Keep Shutting Despite Trump’s Order to Rescue Them

June 18 — President Donald Trump has ordered a rescue of the nation’s struggling coal and nuclear power industries, but that doesn’t mean utilities are reconsidering the shutdown of unprofitable plants.

— Bloomberg

 

Energy Choice Matters: AEP Texas May Lack Authority In Disputed Service Area

June 19 — Adoption Of Proposal Would Require Second Phase To Determine How To Transition Customers To Co-op Service, Cease Taking Service From REP.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Longview News Journal: Atmos rate hike looms

June 14 — Atmos Energy natural gas rates for residential customers are going up, though Longview City Council members Thursday delayed the inevitable for 90 days for customers in their city.

— Longview News Journal

 

Austin American-Statesman: Why Texas officials decided not to levy penalties after pipeline leak

June 15 — A buried pipeline running across a Fayette County ranch was leaking, and at least 42 barrels, or 1,700 gallons, of liquid gas containing a known carcinogen were seeping into the ground and possibly making their way into the Central Texas water table. The landowner told the company that owned the pipeline of an unusual odor and dying mesquite trees.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Houston Chronicle: Electricity prices expected to skyrocket this summer

June 7 — “If you’re not in a fixed price deal, those high (wholesale) prices can trickle down,” said R.A. Dyer, policy analyst for the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power in Austin, a group of cities that buy electricity in deregulated markets.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Bloomberg: A Greener Future Starts With Natural Gas, World Energy Chiefs Say

June 15 — World energy ministers representing about two thirds of the global population tussled over how the world can achieve a cleaner energy future. The compromise answer: Natural gas, at least for now.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: FERC regulators Say No security emergency justify DOE coal, nuke bailout

June 12 — Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission criticized President Donald Trump’s order to bail out coal and nuclear generators during a Senate committee hearing on Tuesday, saying it could unravel wholesale power markets.

— Utility Dive

 

New York Times: Power Companies’ Mistakes Can Cost Billions. Who Should Pay?

June 14 — Utilities say they must be shielded from liability or the electric grid will suffer. Critics say that puts the burden on ratepayers, not investors.

— New York Times

 

KRGV: ERCOT Expecting to Have Enough Power Despite High Demand

June 1 — ERCOT, a state authority on electricity, says they will have enough power despite the high demand. They expect a peak usage of 72,000 megawatts.

— KRGV

 

Houston Chronicle: Breeze Energy told to stop selling electricity

June 1 — Breeze Energy, the Dallas retail electric company with thousands of customers in Houston, was shut down by Texas regulators after the company defaulted on its financial obligations, leaving industry analysts to speculate that the anticipation of higher wholesale electricity prices this summer may have put the retail electric provider in a financial squeeze.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Dallas Observer: Scorching Summer Looms as Dallas Closes Book on Second Hottest May In History

June 1 — A woman scorned? Hah. Texas laughs at scorned women because when it comes to hellish fury, no woman alive can hold a candle to a dry Texas summer.

— Dallas Observer

 

KRISTV: Record power demands expected this summer

June 3 — It’s shaping up to be a long hot summer here in South Texas. and and it’s time to start thinking about ways to keep you electric bills from soaring like the temperatures. The folks with CPL Retail Energy recently visited us with some timely information on how you can better manage your power usage and save some money.

— KRISTV

 

Dallas Morning News: Buying an electric car? Texas wants to pay you

June 2 — Cars or trucks running on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas are eligible for $5,000. Texans who recently bought electric cars, plug-in hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell cars could get $2,500 in addition to federal subsidies of up to $7,500.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: How Trump’s ‘Soviet-style’ coal directive would upend power markets

June 4 — A federal order to keep coal and nuclear plants from retiring could end electricity markets as they exist today, regulators and analysts say.

— Utility Dive

 

Vox: Europe is building more wind and solar — without any subsidies

May 31 — New renewable energy projects are expected to be profitable with little government support.

— Vox

 

Utility Dive: Trump orders Perry to stop coal, nuclear retirements

June 1 — President Trump directed Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to stop the closure of coal and nuclear plants, pushed offline by cheaper electricity from natural gas and renewables.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Why natural gas’ reign may come to a quick end

May 31 — Turbulent markets and disruptive technology will require every fuel source — even those that are currently winning on low costs — to become even more efficient, writes Uptake’s Michael Donohue.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Trump administration preparing 2-year coal, nuke bailout

June 1 — Under the plan, the federal government would purchase electricity or generation capacity from the plants for two years using its power under Section 202 of the Federal Power Act and the Cold War-era Defense Production Act. Bloomberg first reported on the memo Thursday night.

— Utility Dive

 

Platts: ERCOT sets May peak demand record, consumption set to rise further this week

May 30 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set multiple May peak demand records Tuesday afternoon, topping out over 67.2 GW and demand is expected to increase through the weekend.

— Platts

 

Houston Public Media: Texas’ Power Grid Hits Record For Peak Demand In May

May 30 — Earlier this month Texas’ power grid hit new records for peak demand in the month of May. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, anticipates setting a new record this week, possibly more than once.

— Houston Public Media

 

Utility Dive: DOE IG report faults FERC pipeline reviews for lack of transparency

May 31 — The Department of Energy’s Inspector General on Wednesday released a report calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to enhance the transparency of its process for evaluating interstate pipeline applications.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Texas, California will face tight markets this summer

May 31 — Heading into the hottest months of the year, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. sees a generation shortfall in Texas, in part due to 5 GW of retirements in the last year, while California faces a limit on natural gas output due to continued constraints at the Aliso Canyon storage facility. NERC issued its “2018 Summer Reliability Assessment” on Wednesday.

— Utility Dive

 

Energy Choice Matters: ERCOT Initiates Involuntary Mass Transition Of Customers Of Defaulting Retail Provider, REP Identified

May 30 — Although the identity of the retail provider subject to the POLR drop was not stated in the market notice, several market participants independently told EnergyChoiceMatters.com (on background due to the identity not yet being officially released) that the identity of the defaulting REP is Breeze Energy.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Bloomberg: Why Do Americans Stay When Their Town Has No Future?

May 23 — Family and community are the only things left in Adams County, Ohio, as the coal-fired power plants abandon ship and the government shrugs.

— Bloomberg

 

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: LP&L board to consider nearly $40 million smart meter project for Lubbock electricity

May 27 — The Electric Utility Board on Tuesday will consider approving contracts to purchase advanced metering infrastructure and a new billing system as part of a nearly $40 million project to replace the city’s 100,000-plus meters with the newer technology. If these contracts are approved by the EUB Tuesday, they’ll go to the City Council for a final vote in the coming weeks.

— Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

 

Fox 4: ERCOT preps for peak energy demand as triple digits loom

May 26 — ERCOT is the organization that manages the state’s electrical grid. It is already forecasting record demand for the month of May next week. It already broke the record twice earlier this month.

— Fox4

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: U.N. report warns companies that frack to consider environmental risks

May 28 — The U.N. Conference on Trade and Development report found that the meteoric rise of natural gas production has led to “major concerns” about contamination of both ground and surface water and an increase in seismic activity. The report conceded that the risks of significant fracking-related issues are slim, but warned that consequences could be dire.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Staff Updates Small-Fish-Swim-Free Rule

May 29 — The Big Brown generation units have officially retired, and therefore, are no longer included in the installed generation capacity.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Approves New Requirements For Smart Meter Texas

May 29 — Chief among the changes approved by the PUCT is a new process by which a customer affirms an agreement to share its SMT data with a Competitive Service Provider (“CSP”, an entity other than the REP of Record).

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Bloomberg: Big Battery Boom Hits Another Roadblock: Fire-Fearing Cities

May 18 — The new era of big batteries has already drawn scrutiny after fiery electric-car crashes across America and Europe. Now, U.S. city planners are worried about the same risk of hard-to-control blazes as these power-storage units make their way into basements and onto rooftops.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: Congress, DOE continue carbon capture push, but utilities wary

May 25 — Despite Trump administration support for coal and the newly extended tax incentive for carbon capture, the technology to reduce carbon emissions is too expensive for most utilities.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Does 112% growth in 2017 mean community solar has finally solved its complexity problem?

May 24 — Utilities like big solar projects that they can own, and consumers like rooftop solar that they can own, but there is a third kind of solar emerging that may finally be ready to work for both utilities and consumers.

– Utility Dive

 

The New York Times: Think the Big Banks Have Abandoned Coal? Think Again

May 28 — An environmental group’s analysis shows the five largest United States banks have started lending to coal companies again now that they’re out of bankruptcy.

— New York Times

 

BusinessWire: Texas Coalition for Affordable Power Delivers Special Services, Cash Back to Cities

May 25 — More than $360,000 — that’s how much Texas Coalition for Affordable Power members are now receiving back in government tax refunds thanks to special investigative work by one of TCAP’s expert energy consultants.

— BusinessWire

 

Community Impact Newspaper: Cedar Park, Leander customers seeing lower gas bills after changes to federal tax law

The Railroad Commission of Texas, which has jurisdiction over natural gas companies in the state, in January ordered a review of how the tax cuts would impact gas utility rates.

— Community Impact Newspaper

 

Houston Chronicle: Natural gas rates to jump 4.6 percent in Houston

May 25 — Houstonians will soon have to dig a little deeper in their pockets to pay their natural gas bills.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Power Magazine: Concerns About Summer Reliability in Texas and California Persist

May 24 — Higher-than-average temperatures forecast for much of the U.S. this summer won’t affect reliability in most regions, though concerns remain for Texas and Southern California, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

— Power Magazine

 

KWTX 10: Oncor scam targets primarily area Hispanic residents

May 24 — The primary targets of an Oncor scam in the Waco area appear to be Hispanic and Spanish-speaking residents, police said Thursday.

— KWTX

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Staff Seek Reduction in Oncor Rate Request

May 23 — Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed testimony proposing a significant reduction in the revenue requirement for the proposed institution of a Distribution Cost Recovery Factor (DCRF) at Oncor, which results in a 77% reduction in the proposed level of the DCRF for residential and small commercial customers.

– Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Staff Recommends Reduction in Centerpoint Electric Rate Request

May 23 — Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas have filed testimony proposing a marginal reduction, versus the new rates proposed by CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC (CEHE), to the proposed new September 1, 2018 Distribution Cost Recovery Factors (Rider DCRF) at CEHE.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

NBC DFW: Oncor tree trimming has Oak Cliff homeowners throwing shade

May 23 — In a statement to NBC 5, Oncor said, “Trees are important and we work hard to balance the health of trees with delivering safe, reliable electricity in a way that our customers expect. Due to heavy storms earlier this year, we did not adequately re-notify some customers in Oak Cliff about some planned vegetation management. We apologize and are taking steps to improve our process. We are also careful to respect private property and to only enter a property if it is completely necessary to help maintain the safety and reliability of the electric grid.”

— NBC DFW

 

Utility Dive: How can existing coal plants run better? DOE wants to know

May 24 — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has opened an inquiry into possible improvements to the country’s fleet of coal-based power plants, with emphasis on making them more efficient, flexible and reliable.

– Utility Dive

 

Platts: US electric industry, customers at odds on timing of flowing back extra tax collections

May 24 — On the natural gas side, shippers urged FERC to develop a process to return excess ADIT funds to customers promptly, while some pipelines said adjustments should occur through the normal course of future rate cases and be amortized over time.

— Platts

 

Tyler Morning Telegraph: City of Tyler to Challenge Electricity Rate Increase

May 22 — Thomas Brocato, a lawyer for the steering committee, said his team has recommended the city of Tyler, among other cities, oppose the increase so public advocates can figure out whether the increase is appropriate.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph

 

San Antonio Express-News: Deregulated electricity markets paying more

May 22 — Consumers in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi were promised bargains on electricity when the Texas Legislature deregulated the electricity market. But 16 years later, they’re still paying more for electricity than their counterparts in cities Texas lawmakers exempted from deregulation such as San Antonio and Austin, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, which analyzed federal electricity pricing data.

— San Antonio Express-News

 

KTRK TV: WOULD YOU FALL FOR IT? Fake utility workers at your home

May 22 — They look legit and sound convincing, but scam artists posing as utility workers is a big problem here in Houston. To experiment, we dressed up one of our staffers to look like a utility worker and teamed up with CenterPoint and law enforcement, and hit the streets.

— KTRK ABC TV 13 Houston

 

Houston Chronicle: Want cheap electricity? Move to Austin or San Antonio

May 21 — Consumers in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi were promised bargains on electricity when the Texas Legislature deregulated the electricity market. But 16 years later they’re still paying more for electricity than their counterparts in cities Texas lawmakers exempted from deregulation such as Austin and San Antonio, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power which analyzed federal electricity pricing data.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: NextEra to buy Gulf Power, gas assets from Southern for $6.5B

May 21 — NextEra will finance the acquisition by issuing $5.1 billion in new debt and assuming $1.4 billion of Gulf Power’s debt. The company says the deal will raise its 2020 and 2021 earnings per share expectations by $0.15 and $0.20, respectively.

– Utility Dive

 

Want cheap electricity? Move to San Antonio or Austin

May 21 — Consumers in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi were promised bargains on electricity when the Texas Legislature deregulated the electricity market. But 16 years later they’re still paying more for electricity than their counterparts in cities Texas lawmakers exempted from deregulation such as Austin and San Antonio, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power which analyzed federal electricity pricing data.

— Midland Reporter Telegram

 

Utility Dive: Wind power poised for record year, despite initial tax law concerns

May 21 — The number of contracts signed for wind power projects hit a record of 3,500 MW in Q1 2018, according to the American Wind Energy Association, signaling that 2018 should be a strong year for the renewable resource.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Divided FERC restricts climate impacts in pipeline reviews

May 18 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday issued a 3-2 decision to restrict the consideration of climate change impacts in its environmental assessments for new natural gas pipeline projects.

— Utility Dive

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Atmos files update with Denton

May 21 — Atmos Energy Corporation has resumed pipeline replacements in Denton after crews were diverted to Dallas to replace system pipe there following a fatal explosion in February.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

EnergyWire: New TCAP report shows narrowing gap in power prices

May 17 — The difference between average residential power prices in deregulated areas of Texas and other parts of the state dropped in 2016 to the narrowest percentage gap on record, according to a new report from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.

— EnergyWire

 

Utility Dive: ERCOT prices spike as Texas heads into a tightly-balanced summer

May 18 — The grid operator for most of the Lone Star State, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), said in a pair of tweets that it set all-time May peak demand records, the last between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. when demand reached 61.5 GW — more than 2.2 GW higher than the previous May record set last year.

— Utility Dive

 

Reuters: ERCOT Hits New All-Time May Peak Power Demand

May 17 — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) set a new all-time May peak demand record between 5 and 6 p.m. on Thursday, while preparing for a record breaking peak usage this summer.

— Reuters

 

Platts: Cal-ISO, ERCOT possible rough spots as US FERC looks ahead to summer

May 17 — California and Texas are two potential tight spots for power markets and energy reliability this summer, even as most regions appeared prepared to meet summer demand, staff of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Thursday.

— Platts

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Electricity price gap between regulated, deregulated Texas markets shrinks

May 18 — A new report from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power shows that the electricity price gap between Texas’ regulated and deregulated markets is as small as it’s been since deregulation went into effect in 2002.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Dallas Morning News: Texans in competitive electric markets pay more, but that could be changing

May 17 — The analysis, which used the most recent numbers available, was conducted by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power, an advocacy group for local governments.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Business Wire: Despite Persistent Price Gap, Competitive Electricity Market Makes Gains in Texas

May 17 — The new TCAP Snapshot Report also reveals that rates charged by the state’s two largest transmission and distribution providers have increased beyond the level of inflation, and that these transmission and distribution rates comprise a larger proportion of home residential bills than they did previously.

— Business Wire

 

Houston Public Media: Family Of Man Electrocuted After Hurricane Harvey Sues CenterPoint Energy

May 17 — The family says if CenterPoint Energy had shut off power in flooded neighborhoods, their son would be alive.

— Houston Public Media

 

Platts: ERCOT real-time power prices spike near $1,500/MWh on record demand

May 16 — Real-time prices spiked across the footprint as real-time prices for all hubs averaged nearly $1,500/MWh for the 15-minute interval that ended 4:45 pm CDT, after shooting up above $1,300/MWh two intervals prior.

— Platts

 

EDF Blog: With hurricane season approaching, Texas should heed Harvey’s warning on climate change

May 16 — The weather rollercoaster that Texas has always ridden is getting more intense, thanks in large part to climate change. Not only is climate change real and happening, but Texas will be among the areas hardest hit economically by its effects. Put simply, our state can no longer afford not to act on climate change.

— EDF Blog

 

Athens Daily Review: Railroad Commissioner says more workers needed

May 16 — Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian told the Henderson County Farm and Ranch Tour audience at First United Methodist Church Tuesday that the commission regulates the exploration, production and transportation of oil and natural gas.

— Athens Daily Review

 

Houston Business Journal: Despite Persistent Price Gap, Competitive Electricity Market Makes Gains in Texas

May 17 — Although residential electric prices in areas with retail electric competition have remained consistently higher, on average, than prices in deregulation-exempt areas — the annual percentage price gap between these two areas has dwindled to the narrowest point ever.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Austin American-Statesman Op-Ed: Austin should lead the way for next wave of renewable energy

May 13 — Defenders of fossil fuels never fail to fault wind and solar cells as intermittent and not “dispatchable,” that is, these power sources cannot be turned on or off on demand. The many cities, states and countries trying to increase consumption of renewable energy confront this problem.

— Austin American-Statesman Op-Ed

 

Allen American: Allen City Council denies Oncor’s request to increase distribution rates

May 11 — The city of Allen is a member of the 160-city Steering Committee of Cities Served by Oncor, a coalition that oversees requests like a DCRF. In 2011, the state legislature adopted a law in which utility companies are allowed to request an expedited, limited review rate change.

— Allen American

 

RTO Insider:Texas PUC Delays Final Approval of SPS Wind Farm

May 10 — The Public Utility Commission of Texas on Thursday delayed its final approval of Southwestern Public Service’s request to build a 478-MW wind farm in West Texas, allowing the company and other parties in the docket time to provide written answers to the regulators’ latest questions and recommend further revisions to the draft order.

— RTO Insider

 

KFDA Channel 10: Lower bills for most Xcel customers

May 9 — Next time you go to pay your energy bill, Xcel Energy is saying customers should expect to see some savings. As the summer heat begins to pick up and air conditioning units go into overdrive, you’re using more electricity.

— KFDA

 

Utility Dive Opinion: Order 1000 should remain a priority for FERC

May 9: The virtual monopoly enjoyed by incumbent utilities gave them the ability to build any new electric transmission in their service areas, even if the proposal to build new transmission capacity came from a non-incumbent, third-party company. Incumbent utilities could even exercise their right to build the new electric transmission after the benefits of the independent company’s project had already been demonstrated, leaving the independent company unable to recoup the costs of their proposal.

— Barry Smitherman, writing in Utility Dive

 

KRISTV: Months-long utility dispute between Beeville, Corpus Christi continues

May 9 — The City of Corpus Christi claims Beeville is more than $361,000 behind on its utility bill. Those payments date back 2 to 3 months, not long after Beeville and its Water Supply District filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

— KRISTV

 

Dallas Morning News: Dallas slaps code violation on house rocked by gas explosion that preceded deadly blast

May 10 — On Feb. 21, the heating and air conditioning unit at 3527 Durango Drive in northwest Dallas exploded. Two nearby houses caught fire or exploded within days, including one explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda Rogers.

— Dallas Morning News

 

NBC DFW: Dallas Gas Explosion Victim Slapped With Code Violation

May 10 — On Feb. 21, the man living at the home was thrown several feet after his heating and AC unit exploded, causing second-degree burns. While he recovered from his injuries, and because of an ongoing investigation into the explosion, he has not been allowed to return to the house.

— NBC DFW

 

ABC 13: Mineral oil fire explodes at CenterPoint Energy facility in Texas City

May 8 — Flames and black smoke from a CenterPoint Energy facility in Texas City could be seen for miles following a transformer explosion late Tuesday afternoon.

— KTRK TV 13

 

Houston Public Media: Texas Lost Three Coal Plants, But Officials Don’t Sound Worried About The Grid

May 8 — Alternatives like natural gas are stepping in to fill some of the gaps, though the grid could still be strained by a hotter-than-usual summer.

— Houston Public Media

 

KRISTV: More businesses with delinquent utility accounts revealed

May 8 — KRIS 6 News first requested this information from the city nearly two weeks ago. That was around the time that we learned Kane Beef owed more than $3.2 million in payments. The original request was for a report of all commercial utility accounts that were delinquent for 60 days or more. After narrowing the request to include only the ten most outstanding accounts, the city sent KRIS 6 News the report early Tuesday evening.

KRISTV 6

 

BlueRibbonNews: Fate secures competitive deal to save residents money on electricity

May 8 — Together with iChoosr, an independent service provider, the City of Fate conducted an auction among electric providers. Discount Power won the auction with a very competitive, simple 12-month plan that includes a fixed energy charge of 5.714¢ per kWh and no base monthly fee. This is then added to the standard ONCOR delivery charges of 3.456¢ per kWh and monthly flat charge of $3.49 per month.

— Blue Ribbon News

 

KRGV: McAllen Couple Left with Pricey Electric Bill after Switching Providers

May 8 — Rios’ final bill from Reliant Energy is over $300 from what he is used to paying.

— KRGV

 

Utility Dive: Plant of the future? DOE seeks info on small, modular coal

May 8 — The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday issued a request for information (RFI) on the development of small-scale modular coal-fired power plants, continuing the administration’s search for ways to support the struggling fuel.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Tesla’s Musk talks ‘gigawatt-hour scale’ storage project

May 8 — In a conference call with analysts last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company could announce “a gigawatt-hour scale” energy storage project “within a matter of months.”

— Utility Dive

 

Fox 4: Atmos can’t be sure aging pipeline system is safe, expert says

May 7 — Because of the repeated gas leaks in Northwest Dallas, the city council requested details from Atmos about its safety inspections and state regulation. Mayor Mike Rawlings asked Atmos executives how the public can know the pipes under their houses are safe after the deadly explosion in February that killed a 12-year-old girl.

— Fox 4

 

NBC DFW: Energy Council Prepares for Record-Breaking Summer Energy Usage

May 8 — Scorching summer temperatures have finally arrived as highs reach the 90s this week. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas warns the state could see record-breaking power usage this summer.

— NBC DFW

 

WFAA: Gas shut off to 45 homes in NW Dallas after ‘non-hazardous’ leaks found

May 6 — Atmos Energy surveying and monitoring the area when the leaks were found in the 3200 and 3300 blocks of Darvany and Kinkaid drives.

— WFAA TV

 

Waco Tribune-Herald: Officials expect record electricity demand, high prices for summer

May 4 — A not-so-perfect storm of high demand and power plant retirements could send electricity prices soaring this summer in Texas, potentially squeezing low-income residents and the agencies that provide assistance with energy bills.

— Waco Tribune-Herald

 

El Paso Times: El Paso Electric loses $7M in first quarter

May 4 — The first is an accounting change, which required it to report a $3.8 million paper loss on its share in the Palo Verde nuclear power plant investment trust fund.

— El Paso Times

 

Forbes Opinion: For Smart State Energy Policy, Look To Texas, Not New York

May 4 — When the voters in Denton, Texas approved an ordinance banning the conduct of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations within the city limits in November, 2014, the Texas legislature responded by passing House Bill 40 during its session in 2015. When Governor Gregg Abbott signed HB 40 into law, the Denton ordinance was effectively nullified.

— Forbes Opinion Contributor

 

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Hale County sees more economic development with Xcel wind farm

May 3 — Xcel Energy is bringing more jobs to Hale County with the development of the Hale Wind Project, which received verbal approval from the Public Utility Commission of Texas last week.

— Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

 

Wall Street Journal: What Does the Railroad Commission of Texas Regulate? Not Railroads

May 3 — Some Texans believe the name has been kept for nefarious reasons, to lessen public involvement in the agency by keeping voters clueless about its true function. Since November, just one person has addressed the commission during the public-participation part of its regular open meetings, usually held once or twice a month in Austin. Meetings cover matters ranging from drilling disputes to setting monthly allowable oil production rates to assessing penalties for safety violations.

— Wall Street Journal

 

Cove Herald: Council hears updates to Comprehensive Plan

May 3 — The council voted to deny a request for a distribution cost recovery factor from Oncor Electric.
Haverlah explained Copperas Cove is part of a steering committee of cities, and the attorney for that committee recommended Oncor’s request be denied and negotiations begin to discuss Oncor’s rates.

— Cove Herald

 

Sacramento Bee: Choice is here for California’s energy consumers. What’s next?

May 3 — Choice can be good for consumers. It can even be empowering. It often leads to lower prices and more freedom to select products that suit one’s needs and lifestyle. But when it comes to the electricity that powers our lives and economy, the situation is more complicated.

— Sacramento Bee

 

San Antonio Business Journal: String of earthquakes hit Eagle Ford’s top oil-producing county

May 2 – A recent string of low-magnitude earthquakes shook the Eagle Ford Shale’s top oil-producing county.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Platts: ERCOT power prices could hit offer cap even after ‘circuit breaker’ tripped

May 2 — During the ERCOT Wholesale Market Subcommittee, Pamela Shaw, ERCOT’s lead market operations analyst, made a presentation about what would happen if wholesale power prices this summer stay so high for so long that the peaker net margin — the cumulative amount of money expected to be received by a hypothetical gas-fired peaker under actual prices during the year — tops $315,000/MW-year.

— Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: Enterprise Products Partners announces two pipeline expansions

May 3 — One pipeline will bring natural gas liquids from northeastern Colorado, the heart of the Denver-Julesburg Basin, to Skellytown in North Texas. Enterprise hopes to nearly double the so-called Front Range pipeline by adding a capacity of 100,000 barrels a day and bring the pipeline network to a total capacity of 250,000 barrels. The planned Colorado expansion will stretch for 435 miles and is expected to begin service in mid 2019.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Public Media: ERCOT said the risk of outages is likely lower than it was about a month ago.

April 30 — Texas power grids could be strained this summer. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s largest grid operator, said Monday it expects record-breaking demand for power during peak days this summer, alongside limited supplies of backup power. That’s why ERCOT could have to take action to prevent outages.

— Houston Public Media

 

McAllen Monitor: ERCOT gears up for hot summer

April 30 — Four years after thousands of people in the Rio Grande Valley were without power, those running the electrical system in Texas are more prepared for a hot summer.

— The McAllen Monitor

 

Platts: ERCOT’s summer power market to be less tight than earlier forecast: report

May 1: ERCOT’s final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy for this summer shows a planning reserve margin — excess resources as a percentage of forecast peakload — of about 11%, up from the 9.3% forecast in December’s Capacity, Demand and Reserves Report, but still well below the 13.75% target, designed to ensure a capacity-related blackout occurs no more often than one day in 10 years.

— Platts

 

Austin American-Statesman: Record-breaking energy demand expected this summer, report says

April 30 — The council on Monday released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy report for the summer season, which includes an expected peak of 72,756 megawatts, a more than 1,600-megawatt increase over the all-time peak demand record of 71,110 set in August 2016.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

MyHighPlains.Com: Xcel Energy Wind Energy Expansion

April 29 — Today, the Public Utility Commission of Texas gave verbal approval for a 1,230-megawatt wind energy expansion for Texas and New Mexico, the last approval needed before construction can begin.

— MyHighPlains.com

 

Longview News-Journal: State to begin environmental cleanup at Kilgore oil field reclamation business

April 29 — Texas Railroad Commission spokeswoman Ramona Nye said Inland Products, at 2217 Industrial Blvd., became a “state-managed cleanup site” when the business went into bankruptcy in March 2014.

— Longview News-Journal

 

Dallas Morning News: Forecast says a hotter summer and less available electricity

April 28 — Here’s why: The difference between the amount of electricity Texas can produce and the amount customers are expected to use this summer is the narrowest in 11 years. Politicians, consumer groups and regulators say that could mean unpredictable — and potentially higher — prices.

— Dallas Morning News

 

NBC DFW: Atmos Energy Investigating Another Home Explosion

April 27 — Atmos Energy is facing a new round of questions from customers concerned about their safety after another home exploded. Gene Barber, 92, suffered serious burns to his body when his Caldwell home exploded on April 22.

— NBC DFW

 

Energy Choice Matters: ERCOT Shows Reserve Margins Increasing Starting In 2020

April 30 — ERCOT’s May 2018 Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) report shows reserve margins increasing gradually starting in 2020. The planning reserve margin for summer 2018 has increased to 11 percent based on the resource updates incorporated in the final summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) report.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

San Antonio Business Journal: Railroad commissioner predicts strong 2018 for oil and gas industry

April 26 — Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton released a report with his 2018 predictions for the state’s oil and gas industry.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Environmental Defense Fund: Investing in a strong foundation for energy resilience in Texas

April 27 — Shortly after the storm, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s main grid operator, said, “The ERCOT grid has remained stable, and competitive electricity markets have continued to operate normally.”

— Environmental Defense Fund Blog

 

Bloomberg: Trump Tax Revamp Threatens to Make Gas Pipelines Pay $18.5 Billion

April 25 — Natural gas conduits include the cost of future tax payments in customer fees. Because the Trump administration lowered the tax rate 21 percent from 35 percent earlier this year, pipelines have effectively been overcharging customers, according to East Daley Capital Management Inc. The sides now await a U.S. ruling on whether refunds must be made, and how quickly.

— Bloomberg

 

KXAN: Pflugerville woman receives $16,000 electric bill

April 25 — “I was just shocked,” the 24-year-old said. “This is crazy, I was like there must be a mistake somehow.” She moved into her Pflugerville one bedroom apartment at the Century Stone Hill Apartments in early February.

–KXAN

 

Hays Free Press: Suit leads to savings for gas users

April 25 — In November 2017, CenterPoint filed a statement of intent with both the City of Kyle and the Texas Railroad Commission to increase its system-wide annual revenue requirement by about $490,000, and recover about $676,000 it lost during Hurricane Harvey through a 12-month surcharge, said city chief of staff Jerry Hendrix.

— Hays Free Press

 

Utility Dive: Pacific Power analysis shows storage pilot projects currently uneconomic

April 24 — Oregon was an early adopter of energy storage, but it could be slower in implementing new projects.

— Utility Dive

 

PV Magazine: China bucks forecasts to install 9.65 GW of PV in Q1, DG leads the way

April 24 — Of the 9.65 GW of solar PV China installed in the first quarter of 2018, 7.68 GW comprised distributed generation (DG) systems, reports China’s National Energy Administration (NEA). Changes to the country’s PV policy have also been proposed.

– PV Magazine

 

Austin American-Statesman: Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian Denies Science Settled on Global Warming

April 24 — Contrary to widely held conclusions by scientists, a senior official in Texas’ oil and gas regulatory agency said Tuesday “we don’t know whether man-made greenhouse gases are impacting our climate in a harmful way.”

— Austin American-Statesman

 

NBC DFW: Atmos Energy Discontinues Estimated Billing During Cold Months

April 24 — Earlier this month, we heard from dozens of consumers who were angry over their high Atmos Energy bills. One woman’s bill went from $50 to $500 in just one month.

— NBC DFW

 

Vox: The EPA ousted science advisers. Now it’s going after the science itself

April 24 — The idea is to exclude studies that aren’t reproducible or don’t make their underlying data public, standards that would bar research based on one-off events like toxic chemical leaks or experiments involving confidential patient data.

— Vox

 

Associated Press: Environmentalists dump on proposal for weaker coal ash rules

April 24 — Environmental groups say coal ash can pose significant risks to a clean drinking water supply if it is disposed of improperly and leaches into the groundwater or spills into rivers. They say regulations imposed at the end of the Obama administration are just now taking practical effect and should be allowed to continue.

— Associated Press

 

Forbes: If solar and wind are so cheap, why are they making electricity so expensive?

In a paper for Energy Policy, Leon Hirth estimated that the economic value of wind and solar would decline significantly as they become a larger part of electricity supply. The reason? Their fundamentally unreliable nature. Both solar and wind produce too much energy when societies don’t need it, and not enough when they do.

— Forbes

 

Big Spring Herald: City Council plans to say ‘no’ to Oncor rate hike

April 23 — According to the posted agenda for the meeting, Oncor has filed an application with the city for “Approval of a Distribution Cost Recovery Factor,” abbreviated DCRF, amounting to a surcharge to reimburse Oncor for lower-than-expected electricity service revenues. The factor would increase electricity distribution rates citywide by about $19,002,177, according to the agenda.

— Big Spring Herald

 

San Antonio Business Journal: CPS Energy plans to avoid rate increases — for now

April 23 — A July 2017 study from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power shows that electricity rates in San Antonio remain well below the average of 12.22 cents per kilowatt-hour paid by those living in deregulated markets across the Lone Star State in 2015.

— San Antonio Business Journal

 

Utility Dive: Bringing the electricity grid into the Information Age

April 23 — Timely and convenient access to utility and customer data is vital to moving the electric utility industry into the digital age, unlocking value and engaging customers in new ways.

— Utility Dive

 

New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung: Council to consider entering into CenterPoint settlement

April 22 — New Braunfels City Council members will consider entering into a settlement with CenterPoint Energy and schedule a public hearing for New Braunfels Utilities’ revised impact fees when they meet in regular session at 6 p.m. Monday in City Council Chambers in City Hall, 550 Landa Street.

— New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung

 

Reuters: CenterPoint Energy to buy rival Vectren in $6 billion deal

April 23 — U.S. gas and electric utility Centerpoint Energy said on Monday it would buy rival Vectren for about $6 billion to diversify its customer base and give it more scale.

— Reuters

 

WFAA: Texas regulator answers questions about Atmos’ conduct

April 20 — WFAA sat down for the first time Friday with Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton to talk about the investigation into the February explosion that killed 12-year-old Linda Rogers.

— WFAA

 

Bloomberg: Trump’s Latest Plan for Saving Coal Comes From the Cold War

April 23 — Months into the Korean War, President Harry Truman capped wages and imposed price controls on the steel industry, seizing authority under a newly passed law to take action in the name of national defense.

— Bloomberg

 

Utility Dive: FERC chair takes up coal lobby line on plant retirements

April 17 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could take action to keep uneconomic power plants online if it perceives an entire category of generation resources, such as coal and nuclear, could permanently retire, the agency’s chairman told Congress on Tuesday.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: U.S. Wind Power Slows Thanks to Tax Policy Meant to Boost It

April 17 — Got that? Congress extended in late 2015 a key tax credit for wind. The new timeline let developers qualify for the full benefit with projects that begin construction by the end of 2016; the prior rule had applied to wind farms that began work by the end of 2014.

— Bloomberg

 

Business Wire: Texas Coalition for Affordable Power Welcomes Dalworthington Gardens

April 20: TCAP is a non-profit purchasing consortium of cities and political subdivisions that have come together to negotiate better prices and service terms for electricity procured for their own governmental use. Dalworthington Gardens is TCAP’s 162nd member.

— Business Wire

 

The Ennis News: Ennis, others looking to block proposed Oncor rate increase

April 20 — Ennis belongs to the Steering Committee of Cities Served By Oncor, and those communities are denying Oncor’s request for a rate increase.

— The Ennis News

 

NBC DFW: Dallas Leaders Criticize Atmos Gas Line Replacement Plans

April 18 — A company briefing to the City Council Wednesday included new promises for better communication and faster pipe replacement since a February 23 explosion that killed 12 year old Linda Rogers. It brought new public attention to old pipes.

— NBC DFW

 

Dallas Morning News Editorial: Atmos Energy told the Dallas City Council we’re all safe, so why doesn’t it feel like it?

April 20 — Mike Haefner, Atmos Energy’s president and CEO, actually said this to the Dallas City Council on Wednesday: “I can assure you our system is safe today, and with recent investments, it’s safer than it’s ever been.”

— Dallas Morning News Editorial

 

WFAA 8: Atmos says it needs five years to replace aging Dallas natural gas lines

April 18 — Atmos Energy on Wednesday reiterated the natural gas grid in Dallas is safe, one month after three house explosions, the death of a 12-year old girl and the evacuation of more than 1000 homes in Northwest Dallas.

— WFAA 18

 

KUT 90.5: As Gas Rates Rise, Cities Demand More Oversight

April 20 — GRIP was meant to help companies cover costs for work they need to do quickly, like laying new pipe and fixing broken meters. But Thomas Brocato, a lawyer who represents cities on utility issues, says that’s not always what companies use GRIP money for.

— KUT 90.5

 

Fox4: Bill estimating reason behind spike in Atmos bills

April 19 — The CEO of Atmos brought up the billing issue before the Dallas City Council on Wednesday.

— Fox4

 

Fox4: Dallas council questions Atmos on pipeline repairs

April 18 — Company executives faced the council for the first time since 12-year-old Michellita Rogers died in the house explosion in February. Days before that, there were two other gas-related incidents at nearby homes.

— Fox 4

 

Dallas Morning News: City Council pushes Atmos to pick up the pace as it replaces Dallas’ aging gas lines

April 18 — Dallas council members told Atmos Energy representatives at a briefing Wednesday that five years is too long to wait for pipeline replacements to be completed.

— Dallas Morning News

 

CBS DFW: Consumer Justice Looks Into Skyrocketing Atmos Bills

April 16 — “We’re living in a time and in a state that isn’t very responsive to consumer issues,” said Geoffrey Gay. Gay is an attorney for the Atmos Steering Committee. He negotiates with Atmos on behalf of 150 cities across Texas and he says bills are going up because rates have gone up almost every year.

— DFW CBS

 

KFOX El Paso: El Paso Electric customers could see decrease in bill this summer

April 16 — On Friday, El Paso Electric, along with the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the City of El Paso, filed to reduce existing fuel factors in Texas by approximately 29 percent. If the proposal to lower the fuel factor is approved, some residents could save almost $5 per month on their electric bills.

— KFOX El Paso

 

KSTM: El Paso Electric Files to Reduce Texas Fuel Factor

April 16 — Your electric bill could go down as soon as May if a proposed fuel factor reduction is approved. El Paso Electric filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the City of El Paso and the other incorporated cities and towns within its Texas service territory to reduce its existing Texas fuel factor by approximately 29 percent.

— KTSM News Channel 9

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Rejects Proposal Allowing Customers To Pay Deposits in Installments

April 12 — Regarding approval of the revised proposal for adoption, Commissioner Arthur C. D’Andrea stated during the open meeting that, “Both the Chair and I agree with a lot of the concerns raised by consumer advocates in this case, or at least, share a lot of concerns, but this is a deal that has been hammered out in the legislature, and I don’t think we’re free to upset it at this point.”

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: PUC Commissioners Concerned With Smart Meter Texas Settlement

April 13 — In a memo in advance of the open meeting, Walker wrote, “In my opinion, the agreement of the parties in several instances goes well beyond this issue, and I do not believe such additional issues should be adopted by the Commission. Instead, the Commission should limit the order in this docket to the single issue of the appropriate business requirements for Smart Meter Texas, including the time period for a customer to renew access to its data by another entity. Therefore, issues such as cost recovery of the Smart Meter Texas, costs by the four utilities, and limitation of liability determinations are not properly before the Commission.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Utility Dive: Perry Says Emergency order for coal, nukes is ‘exactly what has to happen’

April 12 — Secretary of Energy Rick Perry told a House committee hearing on Thursday his agency is likely to take some action to keep retiring coal and nuclear plants online, though he stopped short from committing to a particular policy.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: How much are tariffs holding solar back?

April 12 — Solar Energy Industries Association President Abigail Hopper said the tariffs would “create a crisis” for the solar industry and threaten its 260,000 American jobs.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Residential storage faces sunny prospects this year

April 10 — Interest in residential energy storage is rising in the U.S., especially when combined with rooftop solar. A new report by EnergySage found that in 2017, 74% of solar shoppers surveyed said they were also considering a home battery system.

— Utility Dive

 

Associated Press: Puerto Rico power outage knocks out electricity to 870,000

April 13 — The outage occurred when the tree fell and knocked out the main line that supplies power to the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan and surrounding areas, all the way from the island’s northern coast to the southeast, the Electric Power Authority said Thursday. The outage forced the island’s main public hospital and the international airport to switch to backup generators.

— Associated Press

 

Platts: PJM draws more investment than ERCOT, despite reserve margin differences

April 11 — Despite the PJM Interconnection’s large reserve margins and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ tight reserve margins, power market participants and experts on Wednesday viewed PJM as a place where new generation is more likely to earn targeted rates of return on investment.

— Platts

 

Houston Public Media: Rule Changes Would End Remnants Of Electric Bill Assistance For Low-Income Texans

April 11 — Under a proposal being considered by the Public Utility Commission of Texas on Thursday, electric companies would no longer have to give low-income customers a break on late fees, and they wouldn’t have to make special payment plans available for those customers.

— Houston Public Media

 

Temple Daily Telegram: Belton council in search of bright ideas for replacing bulbs

April 11 — That answer was revealed Tuesday evening when Oncor Electric Delivery, which maintains light fixtures throughout the county seat, asked the Belton City Council during a work session what type of bulb it would like to see used here as replacements for lights that have failed.

— Temple Daily News

 

Energy Choice Matters: Broad Interpretation of PUC Rules Raises Questions about Current Customer Protections

April 12 — In a memo in advance of today’s open meeting, concerning a draft proposal for adoption which, as part of removing certain low-income customer benefits from the Substantive Rules due to elimination of the System Benefit Fund, would require that retail electric providers extend to all residential customers the ability to pay deposits in excess of $50 in two equal installments, Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairman DeAnn Walker said that Senate Bill 1976, “preclude[s],” the PUC from adopting such an extension of the deposit benefit to all residential customers.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Utility Dive: Residential storage faces sunny prospects this year

April 10 — Interest in residential energy storage is rising in the U.S., especially when combined with rooftop solar. A new report by EnergySage found that in 2017, 74% of solar shoppers surveyed said they were also considering a home battery system.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: U.S. Coal Mogul Murray Wants to Run Power Plants Too

April 10 — An acquisition could happen as early as this year, allowing the company to mine coal, transport it to plants and then burn it to generate power, Murray said on the sidelines of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in New York.

— Bloomberg

 

RTO Insider: Vistra-Dynegy Merger Closing April 9 After FERC Nod

April 5 — The all-stock deal will create a power generation and retail giant owning 40 GW of capacity and serving nearly 3 million customers, mainly in ERCOT, PJM and ISO-NE.

— RTO Insider

 

CBS DFW: Source Of Gas Leak That Led To Dallas Explosion Was Open Valve In Living Room

April 5 — Through pressure testing that was done on the home’s gas lines (on Wednesday, April 4th, by the Texas Railroad Commission in the presence of DFR, Atmos and the homeowner), the source of the leak was determined to be an open valve in the living room. Despite this finding, the ignition source has not yet been determined; and as a result, the exact cause is still undetermined.

– Dallas DFW CBS

 

Tyler Morning Telegraph: Fossil fuel industry going strong, economist says

April 5 — Bernard “Bud” Weinstein spoke Thursday at the Energy Summit of Northeast Texas, an annual event hosted by the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce that draws hundreds of people in the oil and gas industry.

— Tyler Morning Telegraph

 

Houston Chronicle: Power plants gear up for summer of heat and potential shortages

April 5 — Texas power generators are preparing their plants for what could be a summer of extreme heat, power shortages and spiking market prices.

— Houston Chronicle

 

NBC DFW 5: Customers Question Atmos Energy’s Estimated Billing Practices

April 3 — Atmos points to the cold weather we had earlier this year as the culprit, but many customers are convinced that Atmos’ estimated billing system is to blame.

— NBC DFW

 

Energy Choice Matters: AEP Seeks Residential Rate Increase

April 4 — AEP Texas has filed a petition with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to update the Distribution Cost Recovery Factors (Rider DCRF) for its Central and North divisions, effective September 1, 2018.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Energy Choice Matters: CenterPoint Seeks to Hike Residential Rates

April 4 —For residential customers, CEHE’s proposed DCRF is about 0.8 mills per kWh higher than the currently applicable DCRF which took effect on March 1. This represents a 138% increase versus the current charge.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

Utility Dive: Mild weather drove big drop in 2017 US electricity sales

April 5 — Retail electricity sales in the United States fell by 80 billion kWh last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the largest decline since 2009 during the economic recession.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Cyberattack bleeds into utility space with billing delays

April 4 — A cyberattack that hobbled the operations of at least four natural gas pipeline companies starting late last week also triggered changes within the utility industry.

— Utility Dive

 

Houston Chronicle: Cyber attack shuts Energy Transfer’s pipeline data system

April 2 — The Dallas pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners notified oil and gas shippers on Monday that the data system for its extensive pipeline network was hacked by still unknown cyber criminals.

— Houston Chronicle

 

RTO Insider: Hailed for Compassion, Marquez Seeks New ‘Chaos’

April 2 — She calls herself a “child of chaos” who grew up in the Capitol, working first as an intern while also going through law school. Marquez served in numerous leadership positions on Perry’s staff, including as his budget director, his policy director during his successful 2010 gubernatorial campaign and as his chief of staff during Texas’ 83rd legislative session.

— RTO Insider

 

Platts: ERCOT real-time power prices spike above $450/MWh

April 2 — Real-time prices spiked across the footprint as real-time prices for all hubs averaged more than $375/MWh for a 15-minute interval ended 9:15 am CDT, before topping $450/MWh for the next interval ended 9:30 am, but have fell to average below $175/MWh for the following interval.

— Platts

 

Houston Chronicle: Here’s the quickest way to drive up electricity bills and ruin a competitive market

April 2 — Low natural gas prices and little growth in demand for electricity have the power industry in turmoil. And past proponents of deregulation and free markets are calling for a return to government dictates that guarantee generators a profit.

— Houston Chronicle

 

KERA: Possible Gas Explosion In South Dallas

April 2 — Atmos Energy is investigating an explosion at a duplex in South Dallas near Fair Park.

— KERA

 

Utility Dive: Hybrid renewables projects are coming

April 3 — Only a few U.S. utilities are pursuing hybrid projects that combine wind, solar and/or battery storage in various combinations. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) is operating a solar-plus-storage project that may be the first U.S. renewables-powered peaker plant. And Arizona Public Service (APS) just contracted with First Solar for what is said to be the first utility-scale renewables peaker plant.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Are Market-based IRPs a new paradigm for grid planning?

April 2 — By dispensing with cost forecasts, Ching said the IGP approach provides an alternative to complicated DER valuation schemes being devised in states like New York and California. Instead of developing theoretical prices for DERs to compare them with grid-scale resources, an RFP would allow DER providers to compete head-to-head with traditional utility solutions to meet specific system needs.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive:Proposed Texas rule highlights storage’s challenges in bridging competitive, regulated energy markets

March 27 — The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) in late January dismissed a request by AEP Texas, a unit of utility giant American Electric Power, to install two battery storage systems as an alternative to a traditional distribution system expansion because it lacked sufficient information.

— Utility Dive

 

WFAA: Atmos discouraged evacuations before gas explosion in Irving

March 27 — Atmos’ reluctance to evacuate the Irving neighborhood is similar to the company’s actions in northwest Dallas last month. On Feb. 21, a house on Durango Drive in Dallas exploded because of a gas leak. The next day, another house caught fire – again ignited by leaking natural gas. Still Atmos did not evacuate the neighborhood. It wasn’t until Feb. 23 when a third house on nearby Espanola Drive exploded, killing 12-year-old Linda “Michellita” Rogers, that Atmos evacuated residents and embarked on an unprecedented mass replacement of gas lines servicing about 2,800 homes.

— WFAA

 

Denton Record-Chronicle: Denton residents press candidates for help with Atmos

March 27 — The first public forum for Denton City Council candidates Monday night revealed what’s top of mind for some voters: the condition of older natural gas pipes in Denton.

Almost out of the starting gate at the Denia Area Community Group forum, council hopefuls said what they thought the city government could do to get more information from Atmos Energy Corp.

— Denton Record-Chronicle

 

The Mexia News: Mexia residents to see small rate drop in their Atmos bills

March 26 — Mexia city council accepted a proposed rate reduction by Atmos Energy that would see an estimated average monthly savings of $1.25 per household.

— The Mexia News

 

San Angelo Standard Times: Anticipate a small change in Atmos Energy bill

March 26 — After the Tax Cuts and Job Act of 2017 was enacted last December, the federal corporate tax rate decreased from 35 percent to 21 percent, going into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

— San Angelo Standard Times

 

Utility Dive: Bomb cyclone showed coal retirements could raise risks for power grid, DOE says

March 28 — The nation’s ability respond to extreme weather events could be at risk if the pace of fossil fuel plant retirements continues, warns a report released Tuesday by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: We All Love Wind Power, Unless You Want to Make Money

March 28 –Climate change will have some very unpleasant consequences, unless we cut our dependence on fossil power. Generating electricity from the wind is clean and increasingly cheap. So it’s ascent looks assured, whatever ornithologists and President Donald Trump might think.

— Bloomberg

 

Texas Public Radio: Energy Supplies And Prices Have Grown More Unpredictable

March 27 — How much consumers pay at the pump or to your power company depends on how well energy producers plan.

— Texas Public Radio

 

Texas Monthly: More Sinkholes for West Texas?

March 26 — A new study from two SMU scientists finds that oil and gas activity has made the ground unstable over a 4,000-square-mile swath of West Texas.

— Texas Monthly

 

Dallas Morning News: Atmos has two holes to dig out of after latest revelations about deadly Dallas blast

March 26 — The company says it has replaced 400 miles of cast iron pipes — generally the oldest in the system — in North Texas and plans to replace the remaining 400 miles.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Houston Chronicle: Power output by fossil fuels falls

March 26 — Power generated by natural gas-fired plants saw the steepest declines on record last year as electricity produced by renewable energy sources such as wind and solar continued to rise.

— Houston Chronicle

 

NBC DFW: North Texans Frustrated About High Energy Bills

March 26 — But in all the years she’s been there, she said she doesn’t recall any of her energy bills getting close to where they are now.

— NBC DFW

 

WFAA: Neighbors seek normalcy as Atmos repairs near completion in NW Dallas

March 26 — After more than a month of dug up alleys and yards, a quick look around the neighborhood just north of Love Field this weekend yielded streets and yards resembling their intended appearance.

— WFAA Channel 8 ABC

 

Bloomberg: Half of All U.S. Coal Plants Would Lose Money Without Regulation

March 26 — It’s long been clear that U.S. coal plants are struggling. A study released Monday shows how much — concluding that barely half earned enough revenue last year to cover their operating expenses.

— Bloomberg

 

Denton Record Chronicle: Atmos replacing steel, cast iron pipe in Denton, too

March 24 — Texans have learned the hard way cast iron and steel pipe, while considered state-of-the-art at the time, has not aged well. The pipes can corrode and leak. The pipes can become stressed under shifting soil and leak. When it rains, North Texas clay soils can compound the problem by creating new paths for any leaking gas to migrate and collect, rather than disperse in the air.

— Denton Record Chronicle

 

Houston Business Journal: NRG’s GenOn to sell more power-generation facilities in $390M deal

March 23 — GenOn Energy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) that filed for bankruptcy protection in June, announced March 23 that it reached a $390 million deal to sell more electricity-generating facilities.

— Houston Business Journal

 

Houston Chronicle: West Texas should get prepared for more sinkholes, new study says

March 23 — Unexpected and somewhat scary, sinkholes never fail to interest people. A new study says that more of the phenomena might be coming to West Texas.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Omnibus spending bill rejects Trump EPA, DOE cuts

March 22 — EPA spending would remain stable under a Congressional budget bill released Wednesday night, while DOE clean energy funding would increase by nearly $1.5 billion.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Gas generation dropped 7.7% in 2017 while coal declined 2.5%

March 20 — The U.S. added significant wind and solar resources last year as the use of fossil fuels for power generation declined.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: How FERC can spur modernization of the bulk power system

March 26 — Transmission technology vendors say their products could save electricity consumers billions — if utilities were incentivized to invest.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: FERC among targets of Iranian hackers charged by DOJ

Nine Iranian nationals stole data from hundreds of universities and dozens of companies across the globe as well as five U.S. government agencies, the Justice Department said in an indictment Friday.

— Utility Dive

 

KERA: Gas Leaks Detected In Dallas Neighborhood Weeks Before Fatal Explosion, Report Says

March 23 — The preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board finds leaks were first detected in the area on Jan. 1. That’s based on a review of odor reports and Atmos activity in the neighborhood.

— KERA

 

Dallas Morning News: More sinkholes? Permian Basin buckling under stress of oil and gas drilling, study say

March 22 — The same team previously investigated two giant sinkholes — which have become semi-famous —near the town of Wink, about 70 miles west of Midland. The new study in the journal Scientific Reports published by Nature.com, found at least a half-dozen more large swaths of the Permian Basin where land is sinking or rising.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Dallas Observer: As Atmos Pushes to Restore Gas to Northwest Dallas, Who’ll Fix the Torn-Up Streets Left Behind?

March 22 — As Atmos crews work to restore service, some residents in the affected neighborhoods are dealing with the stress of being without gas, facing plumbing repairs and wondering who will pick up the bill for those and the torn-up streets and sidewalks left behind by the emergency work.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Dallas Morning News: Ask Atmos what kind of gas pipes are in your neighborhood

March 22 — The News would like to report more detail about what kind of gas pipes are in our neighborhoods. But Atmos will only release address-specific pipe information to its customers. We need your help. We’re asking readers in North Texas to call Atmos, ask what ​material your main line (as opposed to the service line) is made of, and share the answer with us.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Dallas Morning News: See which Dallas neighborhoods have the same pipes as those involved in fatal gas explosion

March 22 — After a natural gas explosion following a leak in a steel pipe killed a 12-year-old Dallas girl, residents across the city and beyond have wondered if their neighborhoods are safe

— Dallas Morning News

 

Fox4: Natural gas nearly restored for all Northwest Dallas homes

March 21 — Nearly a month after a deadly house explosion and the natural gas emergency in Northwest Dallas that followed, Atmos Energy says it has completed most of the repair work.

— Fox 4

 

Utility Dive: Energy goups see $1.3 trillion omnibus as repudiation of Trump priorities

March 23 — Energy groups cheered the passage of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package by the U.S. Congress, saying it includes vital funding to support clean energy research.

— Utility Dive

 

PBS: Puerto Rico went dark 6 months ago. Could a solar smart grid prevent the next energy disaster?

March 20 — Solar panels can survive hurricanes, even Maria’s 150 mile-per-hour winds. Not so for the power plants residing not far from Adjuntas.

— PBS

 

Houston Chronicle: El Paso Electric expands community solar program

March 22 — El Paso Electric is expanding its community solar program, which allows customers to subsidize a solar farm owned by the utility and get credits towards their electricity bill.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Omnibus spending bill rejects Trump EPA, DOE cuts

March 22 — An omnibus spending bill released late Wednesday by Congressional leaders rejects President Trump’s proposals for federal energy agencies, keeping funds for the Environmental Protection Agency stable while increasing clean energy spending at the Department of Energy.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Project finance getting more viable for energy storage

March 21 — Battery storage is increasingly emerging as a project finance opportunity, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: New business models may be the next frontier in lower energy storage costs

March 20 — As the markets for energy storage continue to grow and companies in those markets mature, business models and financing mechanisms are getting more attention.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Trump’s Steel Tariffs May Take a Swipe at Battery-Storage Market

March 21 — Prices for lithium-ion battery packs dropped 24 percent last year as it became cheaper to make them, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. But steel tariffs threaten to increase battery-installation costs by as much as 3 percent. (The batteries typically are protected with structures made of metal.)

— Bloomberg

 

Texas Tribune Guest Commentary: Bring down utility rates under new federal tax law

March 19 — In many states, regulators protect the public interest by making sure utility rates are fair and reasonable. But in many parts of Texas, the Legislature deregulated retail electricity prices, so there’s no assurance that the tax savings will be passed on to consumers. Corporate taxes were slashed in December from 35 percent to 21 percent, yet millions of utility customers in Texas currently pay rates as if their utility were being taxed at 35 percent. That’s not fair or reasonable. And the clock is ticking.

— Texas Tribune

 

WBAP: Atmos Energy Nears Completion of Massive Repair Project

March 19 — Atmos says they’re now 60-percent complete with repairs to old and damaged gas lines in Northwest Dallas. The company shut off servcie to over 2 weeks ago to make the repairs. — so far, they say they’ve restored gas to 500 of th e28-hundred homes affected.

— WBAP

 

Harker Heights Herald: Rate change could save $1.25 monthly for Heights gas customers

March 16 — Alberta Barrett, finance director of the city of Harker Heights, told council members that the city has been a member of the Atmos Energy Steering Committee for about 20 years.

— Harker Heights Herald

 

Dallas Morning News Editorial: Atmos promises long-overdue answers after deadly gas blast and shaken public trust

March 15 — Whatever the problems that exist within Atmos Energy’s pipeline system, getting the facts out as quickly as possible is a far better strategy than leaving the current information void that allows imaginations to run wild.

— Dallas Morning News

 

San Antonio Express News: Solar power installations fall across U.S., Texas in 2017 as tax credits phase out

March 15 — U.S. consumers and businesses installed 30 percent less solar power in 2017 after setting a record for panel installations in 2016 — which was credited largely to a rush to take advantage of federal tax credits before they expire.

— San Antonio Express News

 

Dallas Morning News: As Atmos makes repairs after gas explosion, pets left behind are a worry for evacuated residents

March 14 — When Atmos Energy ordered 2,800 residents to leave their houses while it worked to fix several gas leaks, Scott had to do a hasty evacuation and asked her son in Carrollton to take her two other dogs, Pulga and Roy, a Chihuahua and a dachshund.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: FERC moves to ensure utility tax savings get passed on to customers

March 15 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking comment on the effects of the recent tax overhaul legislation on Commission-jurisdictional rates for public utilities, interstate natural gas pipelines and oil pipelines.

— Utility Dive

 

Bloomberg: Trump’s Next Big Idea to Save Coal Is Miniature Power Plant

March 15 — The agency wants to spend $175 million on a program that would include designing at least two small-scale, coal-fired power plants. The units would have a capacity of about 200 megawatts, roughly one-third the size of a typical generator that uses coal.

— Bloomberg

 

Politico: Russian hackers targeted U.S. energy grid

March 15 — The Trump administration on Thursday accused Russian government hackers of carrying out a deliberate, ongoing operation to penetrate vital U.S. industries, including the energy grid — a major ratcheting up of tensions between the two countries over cyber-security.

— Politico

 

The Hill: GOP lawmaker proposes tax credit for coal plants

March 14 — The bill would let coal-fired power plant operators take a tax credit to recover up to 30 percent of the costs of their operation and maintenance expenses. It would last for five years.

— The Hill

 

Energy Choice Matters: Time Limits Proposed for Access to Smart Meter Data

Addressing the only contested issue remaining in the case, a Texas ALJ issued a proposed order that would set a 12-month limit on the time that a residential or small commercial customer’s authorization provided to a third-party (who isn’t the REP of record) remains valid for such third party to access the customer’s Smart Meter Texas data.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

KUT: Emails Show Gas Company Knew About Leaks Before Fatal Northwest Dallas Explosion

March 13 — One of the emails dated 12 hours before the explosion describes how Atmos employees were investigating two leaks apparently related to previous kitchen fires in the area, but without any sense of urgency or recommendation for further preventive action.

— KUT

 

Denton Record Chronicle: Gas pipeline systems must be safe

March 13 — Natural gas is great for heating water, cooking and keeping homes warm in winter. Unfortunately, natural gas can be volatile and explosive when it escapes from a secure pipeline system.

— Denton Record Chronicle

 

Utility Dive: Battery prices will continue to decrease, but at a slower pace, GTM says

March 13 — Turnkey prices for front-of-the-meter energy storage systems are expected to continue falling, but the rate of decline will not be as steep as it has been in the past, according to a new report from GTM Research.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Is a residential three-part rate the way to a modern grid or bad news for utility customers?

March 13 — Utilities find themselves caught between their customers’ demand for DER and their own need to cope with reduced electricity sales.They are responding with requests to utility regulators for rate increases that slow the DER growth. “Forging a Path to the Modern Grid: Energy-Efficient Opportunities in Utility Rate Design,” released in February by the Alliance to Save Energy (ASE), proposes a different solution.

— Utility Dive

 

Power Engineering: Sempra Energy Completes Oncor Acquisition

March 12 — Just one day after receiving final approval from Texas regulators, Sempra Energy completed its acquisition of Energy Future Holdings Corp., the bankrupt owner of 80 percent of Oncor.

— Power Engineering Magazine

 

Houston Chronicle: FERC orders grid operators to make room for battery storage

March 12 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered electric grid operators around the country to adjust regulations to incorporate electric storage, like batteries, into their systems.

— Houston Chronicle

 

The Wall Street Journal: Sempra Says CEO Will Retire, Board Will Expand by One

March 12 — Sempra had reached the deal for Oncor in August, besting an offer from Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Sempra was the winner of a competition that lasted years, a contest for the transmissions business that dominated the bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings Corp., the former TXU Corp.

— Wall Street Journal

 

Associated Press: Atmos investigated leaks before fatal Dallas house blast

The company did not evacuate residents or shut off gas lines in the neighborhood near Dallas Love Field airport until after the Feb. 23 explosion that knocked a home off its foundation and killed Linda Rogers. Three days later, the broader neighborhood was evacuated and Atmos cut service to 2,800 homes.

— Associated Press

 

Everything Lubbock: LP&L Application Approved to Join ERCOT

March 8 — The request was described in public records as the “Application of the City of Lubbock Through Lubbock Power and Light for Authority to Connect a Portion of its System with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.”

— Everything Lubbock

 

Dallas Observer: Atmos Story About Not Revealing Bad Pipes Sure Sounds Bogus

March 8 — Two years ago Massachusetts passed a law requiring gas companies there to pony up information on leaky pipes. And they did. And even though I know I’ll get some argument here, I would maintain that Massachusetts is in the same nation we are.

— Dallas Observer

 

Houston Chronicle: ERCOT braces for summer of lower power reserves

March 1 — The worst case scenario would be a repeat of the summer of 2011, when ERCOT frequently urged customers to raise thermostats and cut power consumption. If such steps don’t succeed, ERCOT’s next step would typically be to cut off power to large consumers – such as industrial plants.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Power Magazine: ERCOT Anticipates Summer Supply Crunch Amid Unit Retirements

March 1 — The tight supply and higher prices during this summer’s peak demand will likely prompt voluntary load reductions and an increase in power sold in the market by industrial facilities. ERCOT said its wholesale market is currently designed to withstand such peaks, providing strong financial incentives for generators to be available when demand rises. The operator also adequately prepares retail electric providers to prepare for price fluctuations.

— Power Magazine

 

Utility Dive: ERCOT predicts record peak demand this summer

March 1 — The grid operator for most of Texas expects to break peak demand records this summer. Though sufficient generation will be on hand, demand response and distributed generation will still play a key role on the hottest days, particularly following the retirement of older, and mostly coal-fired, generation.

— Utility Dive

 

NBC DFW: State Ordered Replacement of Metal Gas Supply Lines 7 Years Ago

March 1 — A 2011 Texas Railroad Commission directive to replace metal pipes gave utilities a 2013 deadline to replace those sections with a line leak rate of 7.5 percent or greater. Officials did not directly answer a question about whether this particular area was to have been replaced by now.

— NBC DFW

 

Houston Chronicle: NRG’s losses widened in 2017

March 1 — Houston’s NRG Energy reported steep losses for the full year Thursday as the company continues to sell its assets and braces itself for poor returns from the South Texas Project, a nuclear plant jointly owned by NRG.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Austin American-Statesman: Potential record demand to test Texas electricity grid this summer

March 1 — The main electricity grid in Texas is facing a big test this summer, with little room for error if an unanticipated heat wave exacerbates what’s already expected to be record demand for power.

— Austin American-Statesman

 

Utility Dive: Transmission fault cuts power to Puerto Rico capital

March 1 — 800,000 residents lost power in the North and East of the country five months after Hurricane Maria destroyed the island’s grid.

— Utility Dive

 

Green Tech Media: Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Could Add 2 Cents per Watt to Utility-Scale Solar Projects

March 1 — Solar isn’t the only clean energy technology that will be affected. The majority of front-of-the-meter energy storage projects, for instance, use steel containers. GTM Research analyst Brett Simon noted the tariff could incentivize the industry to start using concrete containers instead.

— GreenTech Media

 

Dallas Morning News: The $9.45 billion Oncor-Sempra deal is now in the hands of Texas regulators

Feb. 27 — Sempra has agreed to keep a majority-independent Oncor board, as well as to return to customers almost all the interest rate savings from the improved credit ratings Oncor is expected to receive as a result of the sale.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Xcel Energy works with stakeholders for Plainview, New Mexico wind energy farms

Feb. 27 — Xcel filed a stipulation recommending the Public Utility Commission of Texas approve a proposal to build and own wind farms in Texas and New Mexico that would add 1,230 megawatts of new wind generation, according to a Tuesday news release.

— Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

 

Dallas Business Journal: Sempra CEO is ‘Very happy’ to be closing in on Oncor deal

Feb. 27 — The CEO of San Diego power company Sempra Energy anticipates closing a $9.45 billion deal to buy Dallas electricity provider Oncor soon after a key state regulator’s approval is expected to come down next week. She also said they hope to prove to Texas regulators they can be good enough stewards of the utility that in time they would be allowed to remove a key feature of the deal meant to keep Oncor independent of its parent.

— Dallas Business Journal

 

Texas Observer: Meet the Oil-Friendly Federal Panel that Could Give Drillers a Sweetheart Deal

Feb. 27 — The oil, gas and mining industry has six voting seats out of 20 on the panel, known as the Royalty Policy Committee, and they predictably advocate for paying the public less. But industry’s voice on the committee is supposed to be balanced with perspectives from state and tribal governments — Native American tribes also receive a share — and civil society and academia.

— Texas Observer

 

Dallas Morning News: Neighbors say they’d smelled gas before fatal explosion in northwest Dallas

Feb. 27 — The Texas agency that regulates pipelines has joined federal investigators to look into an explosion that killed a girl in a northwest Dallas neighborhood where residents said they’d smelled gas earlier this month.

— Dallas Morning News

 

Utility Dive: Cities of all sizes can achieve sustainable energy solutions

Feb. 27 — The U.S. is one of the biggest nations facing climate disparity right now, since the Trump administration chose to pull the country out of the global Paris Agreement last summer. As the federal government’s support for climate issues lags, however, U.S. cities have vowed to uphold the charter’s principles — and commitment to climate hasn’t stopped there.

— Utility Dive

 

Utility Dive: Survey shows Utilities shaken, not moved, by Trump policies

Feb. 27 — Utility Dive’s fifth annual State of the Electric Utility survey shows a sector committed to the clean energy transition, but wary of policies coming out of Washington.

— Utility Dive

 

The Hill: Power companies pull workers from Puerto Rico as many remain without power

Feb. 27 — Power companies contracted by the U.S. government to restore power in Puerto Rico are pulling workers from the island, as many of the territory’s residents still lack power five months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

— The Hill

 

Bloomberg: Advanced Nuclear Is Uncertain as Firms Seek Customers, Funding

Feb. 27 — Advanced nuclear plant development such as NuScale Energy’s small modular reactor has backing from the Trump administration, but industry leaders say continued federal support is critical to the future of an industry with few customers and weak economics.

— Bloomberg

 

NBC-DFW: Hundreds Pack into Community Meeting Over Atmos Concerns

Feb. 27 — Others in the audience ask Atmos to better communicate with the neighborhood about what the crews are working on and where they are headed next. Some told the panel they’ve felt alarmed upon seeing Atmos crews near their homes and struggled to get answers about why they were there.

— NBC-DFW

 

WFAA: More streets evacuated by Atmos Energy in northwest Dallas

Feb. 28 — Two more streets have been evacuated in northwest Dallas as Atmos Energy crews continue to replace natural gas lines and survey the area for potential leaks.

— WFAA

 

Platts: CEO says Vistra Energy benefiting from volatility

Feb. 26 — As Vistra Energy and Dynegy shareholders prepare to vote Friday on their proposed $1.74-billion all-stock merger, Vistra has been benefiting from power price volatility and strong forwards in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the company’s CEO said Monday.

— Platts

WFAA: Fear permeates Dallas neighborhood as natural gas line repair work continues

Feb. 26 — Atmos Energy had not provided an update Monday on the repair work being done, the accident investigation, or a possible natural gas leak about a half-mile from the explosion.

— WFAA

 

Houston Chronicle: Angry residents confront state officials over Fort Bend County oil well blowout

Feb. 26 — A crowded room of angry residents confronted state officials Thursday, Feb. 20, to voice concerns about health and environmental issues related to an oil well blowout last December, more than 200 residents questioned a panel of officials from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about the chemical spill and why ongoing complaints about odors, constant flaring and around-the-clock drilling have been ignored for five years or more.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Houston Chronicle: U.S. bankruptcy court approves Sempra’s acquisition of Oncor

Feb. 26 — A U.S. bankruptcy court has approved Sempra Energy’s acquisition of Dallas-based Oncor, Texas’ largest utility, clearing the way for the deal’s approval.

— Houston Chronicle

 

Energy Choice Matters: Vistra Reports Retail Customer Count, Change

Feb. 26 — Regarding capital allocation at the post-merger firm, which will produce significant cash flow, for the first 12 to 24 months following the close of the Dynegy acquisition, “our focus will be on paying down our debt to achieve our net debt-to-EBITDA target in the range of 2.5 times as we discussed before. We will of course, evaluate growth opportunities during this period, predominantly on the retail side,” Morgan said during an earnings call.

— Energy Choice Matters

 

WFAA: Questions for Atmos: Gas leaks in area of deadly house explosion

Feb. 24 — Crews of Atmos Energy fanned out across a northwest D