Texas: Coal Did Not Get Blown Away By Wind

Visitor “I instructed you so” by David Middleton

Jan 13, 2020, 10:33am
Texas Energy Technology: Did Coal Get Blown Away By Wind?

College of Houston Power Fellows Contributor Group
We’re thought leaders in power from the College of Houston.

Ramanan Krishnamoorti, Chief Power Officer and Ed Hirs, Lecturer, Division of Economics

The precipitous drop in coal-based energy technology in Texas, from 32% of consumption in 2017 to 20% in 2019, has been hailed as essentially the most important step in decarbonizing electrical energy manufacturing in Texas. The narrative within the media has urged that the speedy demise of coal has resulted from the expansion of wind energy.  

The info recommend a extra complicated narrative. Whereas wind has grown significantly, particularly early within the final decade, the decline of coal has largely been attributable to a resurgent pure fuel business.

The info for Texas’ energy manufacturing over the past three years signifies that coal has as an alternative been changed largely via the expansion of pure fuel and solely to a small extent attributable to wind. Particularly, the expansion of excessive effectivity mixed cycle pure fuel manufacturing has pushed a lot of the surge to exchange getting old coal belongings. Coal-based energy technology is anticipated to proceed to slip as extra coal-fired energy vegetation are retired in favor of renewables (wind and photo voltaic) and, extra often, pure gas-based energy technology.


Understanding the transformation of combine is essential: Pure fuel derived from hydraulically fractured shale reservoirs has been a main driver. Additional, coupled with the oversupply of  low cost pure fuel, the displacement of many getting old, low-efficiency single turbine pure fuel vegetation by high-efficiency mixed cycle vegetation has constructed the resurgence of pure fuel primarily based energy by considerably decreasing the price of the electrical energy being produced. 



Since 2017, fuel has kicked @$$, whereas wind broke even within the Lone Star State…

“Annual Distribution of Sources for Texas Electrical energy Manufacturing (proportion): Developments over the past three years. ERCOT” Forbes

“Annual Distribution of Sources for Texas Electrical energy Manufacturing (proportion) over 2007-2019 RAMANAN KRISHNAMOORTI BASED ON INFORMATION FROM ERCOT” Forbes

Wind energy mainly grew from nothing to a constant ±20% of Texas’ producing capability for 2 (2) causes:

Bodily geographyA $7 billion “funding” in Aggressive Renewable Power Zones

Bodily Geography: The Llano Estacado


Artwork Leatherwood

The Llano Estacado, generally generally known as the Staked Plains however maybe extra precisely interpreted because the “palisaded” plains in geological phrases, is the southern extension of the Excessive Plains of North America and lies south of the Canadian River in northwest Texas and northeast New Mexico. A excessive mesa sloping at a price of roughly ten toes per mile towards the southeast, it is among the largest tablelands on the continent. This excessive flat land is positioned roughly between 101° and 104° west longitude and 31° and 35° north latitude. It’s distinctly bounded on the north by the southern escarpment of the Canadian River valley and on the east by the irregular and deeply incised Caprock escarpment. The western boundary is the Mescalero Escarpment east of the Pecos River valley of New Mexico. The southern finish of the plateau lacks a definite bodily boundary; it blends into the Edwards Plateau, and the Johnson Creek department of the Colorado River, east of Massive Spring, might be greatest thought-about its boundary. The Llano Estacado includes all or a part of thirty-three Texas and 4 New Mexico counties and covers roughly 32,000 sq. miles, a bigger space than all of New England. It’s a part of what was recognized to early explorers and settlers because the Nice American Desert, a semiarid area with common annual precipitation of eighteen to twenty inches. The soils are nearly universally dark-brown to reddish brown sands, sandy loams, and clay loams.


Texas State Historic Affiliation

Observe the correlation of the Llano Estacado to Texas’ wind useful resource.

Llano Estacado (Journeys)

Texas 80-Meter Wind Useful resource Map (NREL)

The Llano Estacado and remainder of the Decrease Plains have essentially the most constant onshore wind useful resource in these tangentially United States.

Wind technology seasonal patterns fluctuate throughout america (EIA)

Aggressive Renewable Power Zones

Furthermore, the sharp lower in the price of put in wind capability, together with the on-again off-again manufacturing tax credit (PTC) for wind, has been instrumental within the rise of wind energy. In Texas, the foresight to authorize and pay nearly $7 billion for the Aggressive Renewable Power Zones (CREZ) by state leaders and the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, has been unprecedented. (ERCOT operates nearly all of the Texas grid). Between 2006 and 2013, CREZ has enabled the development of two,400 miles of transmission strains to hold 18,500 megawatts of West Texas wind technology to main load facilities in Dallas, San Antonio and Austin.

READ  CNN Requires the Elimination of the US Nuclear Arsenal, As a result of Local weather Change



No matter whether or not or not it was a good suggestion to make this “funding,” it was made and it enabled the exploitation of Texas’ huge wind useful resource. Within the present period of low cost, plentiful pure fuel because of the “shale” revolution, it’s simple to “Monday morning quarterback” this determination. Nevertheless, on the time the Texas State Legislature accepted the funding of CREZ (2005), pure fuel was neither low cost, nor plentiful. In 2005, we had been constructing LNG import services.

U.S. Pure Gasoline Costs (EIA)

Regardless of incurring a $Three-5/month further payment, Texas residential electrical energy charges weren’t impacted by this “funding.” Electrical energy was really cheaper in July 2017 than it was in July 2005. Would our electrical energy be even cheaper immediately, if we didn’t construct out the wind energy infrastructure and relied extra closely on pure fuel and coal? Possibly… However you may’t re-rack historical past. In Texas, fuel kicks @$$ and wind breaks even.

Then the wheel got here off…

The College of Houston professors had been doing simply nice after which the wheel got here off…

So with substantial development in pure fuel and wind over the previous decade, what’s the most probably supply to fill this elevated electrical energy demand sooner or later?  

Pure fuel looks like an apparent reply, however regardless of its speedy development over the previous decade, continued development is prone to sluggish, each due to public resistance to constructing new pipelines to convey fuel from the state’s shale drilling fields to its inhabitants facilities and due to rising environmental issues about damaging methane launched by flaring. Moreover, the underlying know-how of hydraulic fracturing that has enabled the shale revolution is below elevated scrutiny.




How can a paragraph be so completely flawed? Nicely, begin off with a run-on sentence full of non sequitur fallacies:

Pure fuel looks like an apparent reply, however regardless of its speedy development over the previous decade, continued development is prone to sluggish, each due to public resistance to constructing new pipelines to convey fuel from the state’s shale drilling fields to its inhabitants facilities and due to rising environmental issues about damaging methane launched by flaring.

Pure fuel does seem to be the plain reply as a result of it’s the reply. Progress will solely sluggish as a result of provide is exceeding demand. Public resistance to constructing new pipelines, to the extent it exists in Texas, is among the causes that a lot fuel is flared from Permian Basin oil fields… And methane isn’t launched by flaring. Flaring burns methane, making carbon dioxide.

Moreover, pipeline development is booming…

January 2019 Vol. 74 No. 1
North America Pipeline Building Outlook

Jeff Awalt | Government Editor


The newest survey by sister publication Pipeline & Gasoline Journal, primarily based on Power Net Atlas information, signifies 145,353 miles of pipelines had been deliberate or below development worldwide firstly of the brand new yr – and North America accounted for 36,087 miles of that whole. The survey indicated that 9,542 miles of pipeline are below development in North America and 26,545 are deliberate.

United States

Whereas pipeline development has elevated all through North America, the heaviest exercise has been concentrated round main U.S. shale performs with takeaway capability constraints – most notably, the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico and the Marcellus/Utica basins of Appalachia.


Within the Permian Basin, greater than 2 MMbpd of pipeline capability has been proposed, and several other of these tasks have moved ahead following profitable open seasons that exposed robust buyer curiosity. Manufacturing within the hottest U.S. shale oil play started pushing in opposition to takeaway capability in 2017, inflicting tariffs to rise, and surpassed it throughout 2018.

READ  Local weather alerts detected in international climate

Numerous main Permian tasks are scheduled for completion throughout 2019, together with the 730-mile Epic crude oil pipeline to Corpus Christi, Texas, which is growing into a significant crude and NGL export hub. The Epic crude line will add 590,000 bpd of takeaway capability, following the trail the Epic NGL pipeline which is also below development.

Plains All American expects first movement on its Cactus II challenge within the second half of this yr. Cactus II was proposed as a 585,000 bpd challenge linking Permian manufacturing to Corpus Christi/Ingleside through present and two new pipelines. On account of buyer curiosity, Plains performed a profitable second open season for expanded capability. Cactus II is anticipated to begin partial service within the third quarter of 2019, Plains is focusing on full service on the 670,000 bpd line in April 2020.

Different notable Permian crude oil tasks embrace the Phillips 66/Enbridge Grey Oak Pipeline to Corpus Christi, Freeport and Houston. Grey Oak, which is scheduled to start service within the second half of this yr, may have an preliminary capability of 385,000 bpd.

Most lately, Houston-based Jupiter Power Group commenced an open season in December for a 650-mile, 36-inch crude oil pipeline with anticipated completion by the fourth quarter of 2020. The pipeline would have capability as much as 1 MMbpd with origination factors close to Crane and Gardendale/Three Rivers in West Texas and an offtake level in Brownsville, Texas. Privately held Jupiter stated it is also setting up a crude upgrading, processing and export terminal able to loading VLCCs within the Port of Brownsville.

The Permian pipeline scarcity is just not restricted to crude oil manufacturing, nevertheless. With related fuel accounting for a couple of third of the Permian output and laws limiting the quantity of fuel that may be flared, pure fuel pipeline constraints have additionally put a ceiling on oil manufacturing whereas pushing fuel costs in West Texas right down to the bottom of any main U.S. hub.

Thankfully, Mexico is offering a rising export marketplace for piped fuel from Texas, as its southern neighbor has been aggressively increasing its pure fuel infrastructure.


In 2012, in accordance with Sener, the Mexican ministry of power, there have been 7,050 miles (11,347 km) of fuel pipelines in Mexico, of which 5,665 miles (9,118 km) had been operated by Pemex. Since then, 1,496 miles (2,410 km) of fuel pipelines have been added to the nationwide grid, and that whole is anticipated to succeed in 5,420 miles (eight,722 km) by the tip of 2019.

The 13 present pure fuel interconnections from america have an import capability of about four.2 Bcf/d, in accordance with the Worldwide Power Company (EIA), with 4 of them interconnected to the Built-in Nationwide Transportation and Storage System: El Hueco, Cuidad Mier, Reynosa and Argüelles. By the tip of this yr, 5 further interconnections are anticipated to begin operations.

Numerous essential fuel pipelines from Texas and inside Mexico have come on line over the previous two years, together with Enbridge’s Valley Crossing Pipeline, a 168-mile system that added 2.6 Bcf/d of capability when it entered service in October, and TransCanada’s 348-mile, 670 MMcf/d El Encino-Topolobampo Pipeline, which started service in June.

TransCanada has two extra pipelines with anticipated completion this yr: the 178-mile (287 km) Tuxpan-Tula, a $700 million challenge with a capability of 886 MMcf/d, and the Tula-Villa de Reyes, a 36-inch, 260-mile (420 km) pipeline, supported by a 25-year service contract with the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned energy firm. [For an in-depth review of projects in Mexico, see the Energy Web Atlas white paper, “Mexico’s Infrastructure Expansion and Five-year Plan.”]


Underground Building

The non sequitur practice was adopted by this…

Moreover, the underlying know-how of hydraulic fracturing that has enabled the shale revolution is below elevated scrutiny.

Unmitigated horst schist! Texas isn’t New York, New England or California.

Then the opposite three wheels got here off…

After dismissing offshore wind, though they don’t appear to grasp why it doesn’t work…


Offshore wind manufacturing from the Gulf of Mexico, however, is a sluggish work-in-progress and unlikely to compete with different sources of electrical energy for no less than the following decade, as the price of offshore wind stays considerably greater than onshore wind, photo voltaic and pure fuel in Texas. That is despite important expansions of offshore wind occurring in Europe, China and alongside the East Coast, and the favorable local weather for offshore wind in Texas originating from glorious wind assets, a shallow shelf and present infrastructure from ongoing oil and fuel operations.

READ  Aussie Leaders Bow To Change In Political Local weather And Again Coal



They determined that the reply should be photo voltaic…


The wager appears to be on solar energy: utility-scale solar energy, near inhabitants facilities and paired with modest power storage choices.

Solar energy immediately accounts for lower than 1% of Texas’ power combine, however the quantity of put in solar energy within the state is anticipated to nearly triple by 2021.

With robust overlap between peak manufacturing and peak demand, particularly in the summertime, utility-scale photo voltaic is very well-suited from a grid integration perspective. Furthermore, with considerably decrease smooth prices as in comparison with rooftop and distributed photo voltaic, utility-scale photo voltaic mixed with modest storage appears a horny resolution.



With solar energy accounting for lower than “1% of Texas’ power combine,” tripling the put in capability will very possible not transfer it above “1% of Texas’ power combine.”

Jan-Jun 2019 Demand and Power Report (ERCOT)

Texas photo voltaic useful resource isn’t really that good and the place it’s fairly good, it’s the place a lot of the wind farms are. The CREZ transmission strains are already congested with extra electrical energy and the little little bit of solar energy already working on the market has made the congestion worse.

Photovoltaic photo voltaic useful resource map (NREL)

In regards to the authors of the Forbes article…

Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti is the chief power officer on the College of Houston. Previous to his present place, Krishnamoorti served as interim vice chairman for analysis and know-how switch for UH and the UHSystem. Throughout his tenure on the college, he has served as chair of the UH Cullen Faculty of Engineering’s chemical and biomolecular engineering division, affiliate dean of analysis for engineering, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering with affiliated appointments as professor of petroleum engineering and professor of chemistry. Dr. Krishnamoorti obtained his bachelor’s diploma in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Expertise Madras and doctoral diploma in chemical engineering from Princeton College in 1994.

Ed Hirs is BDO Fellow for Pure Sources and a UH Power Fellow on the College of Houston, the place he teaches power economics. to undergraduate and graduate college students. 

UH Power is the College of Houston’s hub for power training, analysis and know-how incubation, working to form the power future and forge new enterprise approaches within the power business.


In regards to the creator of this WUWT put up…

I’ve been a geologist/geophysicist within the “local weather wrecking business” (oil & fuel) since 1981, primarily working the Gulf of Mexico, the second most prolific oil play in these tangentially United States.

As a proud member of the “local weather wrecking business”, I’m happy with our business’s accomplishments. I lately attended a salt tectonics convention on the College of Texas at Austin. The opening remarks had been by Texas State Geologist and Director of the Bureau of Financial Geology, Scott Tinker. His remarks largely targeted on how oil & fuel are integral elements of lifting individuals out of power poverty and he closed with, “When somebody asks you what you do, reply with ‘I work within the oil & fuel business, I raise individuals out of poverty. What do you do?’” The “Ethical Case for Fossil Fuels” is simple.

I’ve a BS in Earth Science, with a geology focus and minor in math, together with 38+ years of “OJT”. I’m a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), American Affiliation of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) and Houston Geological Society (HGS). I dwell in Dallas with my spouse (additionally a geo) and 11 canines (9 rescues, largely Pomeranians, & 2 Corgis, who we love nearly as a lot because the rescues) and I work in Houston… My commute has a YUGE carbon footprint. MAGA!!!

Like this:

Like Loading…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *