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Texas: Coal Did Now not Get Blown Away By way of Wind

Visitor “I advised you so” through David Middleton

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

College of Houston Power Fellows Contributor Staff
We’re concept leaders in power from the College of Houston

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

The precipitous drop in coal-based energy technology in Texas, from 32% of intake 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 prompt that the fast loss of life of coal has resulted from the expansion of wind energy.  

The knowledge recommend a extra advanced narrative. Whilst wind has grown significantly, particularly early within the ultimate decade, the decline of coal has in large part been because of a resurgent herbal fuel trade.

The knowledge for Texas’ energy manufacturing during the last 3 years signifies that coal has as a substitute been changed in large part during the expansion of herbal fuel and handiest to a small extent because of wind. Particularly, the expansion of excessive performance blended cycle herbal fuel manufacturing has pushed many of the surge to interchange growing older coal belongings. Coal-based energy technology is anticipated to proceed to slip as extra coal-fired energy vegetation are retired in choose of renewables (wind and sun) and, extra ceaselessly, herbal gas-based energy technology.


Figuring out the transformation of combine is essential: Herbal fuel derived from hydraulically fractured shale reservoirs has been a number one driving force. Additional, coupled with the oversupply of  affordable herbal fuel, the displacement of many growing older, low-efficiency unmarried turbine herbal fuel vegetation through high-efficiency blended cycle vegetation has constructed the resurgence of herbal fuel founded energy through considerably decreasing the price of the electrical energy being produced. 



Since 2017, fuel has kicked @$$, whilst wind broke even within the Lone Famous person State…

“Annual Distribution of Resources for Texas Electrical energy Manufacturing (share): Tendencies during the last 3 years. ERCOT” Forbes
“Annual Distribution of Resources for Texas Electrical energy Manufacturing (share) over 2007-2019 RAMANAN KRISHNAMOORTI BASED ON INFORMATION FROM ERCOT” Forbes

Wind energy principally grew from not anything to a constant ±20% of Texas’ producing capability for 2 (2) causes:

  1. Bodily geography
  2. A $7 billion “funding” in Aggressive Renewable Power Zones

Bodily Geography: The Llano Estacado


Artwork Leatherwood

The Llano Estacado, recurrently referred to as the Staked Plains however in all probability extra correctly interpreted because the “palisaded” plains in geological phrases, is the southern extension of the Prime Plains of North The usa 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 consistent with mile towards the southeast, it is without doubt one of the greatest tablelands at the continent. This excessive flat land is situated roughly between 101° and 104° west longitude and 31° and 35° north latitude. It’s distinctly bounded at the north through the southern escarpment of the Canadian River valley and at the east through the abnormal 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 Large Spring, is most probably very best thought to be its boundary. The Llano Estacado incorporates 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 is a part of what used to be recognized to early explorers and settlers because the Nice American Barren region, a semiarid area with reasonable annual precipitation of eighteen to 20 inches. The soils are nearly universally dark-brown to reddish brown sands, sandy loams, and clay loams.


Texas State Historic Affiliation

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

Llano Estacado (Trips)
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 those tangentially United States.

Wind technology seasonal patterns range throughout america (EIA)

Aggressive Renewable Power Zones

Additionally, the pointy lower in the price of put in wind capability, along side the on-again off-again manufacturing tax credit (PTC) for wind, has been instrumental in the upward thrust of wind energy. In Texas, the foresight to authorize and pay nearly $7 billion for the Aggressive Renewable Power Zones (CREZ) through state leaders and the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, has been remarkable. (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.



Regardless of whether or not or now not it used to be a good suggestion to make this “funding,” it used to be made and it enabled the exploitation of Texas’ huge wind useful resource. Within the present technology of inexpensive, considerable herbal fuel because of the “shale” revolution, it’s simple to “Monday morning quarterback” this determination. On the other hand, on the time the Texas State Legislature licensed the investment of CREZ (2005), herbal fuel used to be neither affordable, nor considerable. In 2005, we had been development LNG import amenities.

U.S. Herbal Fuel Costs (EIA)

Regardless of incurring a $Three-Five/month further price, Texas residential electrical energy charges weren’t impacted through this “funding.” Electrical energy used to be in reality more cost effective in July 2017 than it used to be in July 2005. Would our electrical energy be even more cost effective these days, if we didn’t construct out the wind energy infrastructure and relied extra closely on herbal fuel and coal? Perhaps… However you’ll be able to’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 high-quality and then the wheel got here off

So with really extensive expansion in herbal fuel and wind over the last decade, what’s the in all probability supply to fill this higher electrical energy call for at some point?  

Herbal fuel turns out like an evident resolution, however in spite of its fast expansion over the last decade, persisted expansion is prone to sluggish, each on account of public resistance to development new pipelines to carry fuel from the state’s shale drilling fields to its inhabitants facilities and on account of rising environmental considerations about destructive methane launched through flaring. Moreover, the underlying era of hydraulic fracturing that has enabled the shale revolution is below higher scrutiny.




How can a paragraph be so utterly mistaken? Neatly, get started off with a run-on sentence stuffed with non sequitur fallacies:

Herbal fuel turns out like an evident resolution, however in spite of its fast expansion over the last decade, persisted expansion is prone to sluggish, each on account of public resistance to development new pipelines to carry fuel from the state’s shale drilling fields to its inhabitants facilities and on account of rising environmental considerations about destructive methane launched through flaring.

Herbal fuel does appear to be the most obvious resolution as a result of it’s the resolution. Enlargement will handiest sluggish as a result of provide is exceeding call for. Public resistance to development new pipelines, to the level it exists in Texas, is without doubt one of the causes that such a lot fuel is flared from Permian Basin oil fields… And methane isn’t launched through flaring. Flaring burns methane, making carbon dioxide.

Moreover, pipeline development is booming…

January 2019 Vol. 74 No. 1
North The usa Pipeline Building Outlook

Jeff Awalt | Government Editor


The most recent survey through sister newsletter Pipeline & Fuel Magazine, in keeping with Power Internet Atlas knowledge, signifies 145,353 miles of pipelines had been deliberate or below development international originally of the brand new 12 months – and North The usa accounted for 36,087 miles of that overall. The survey indicated that nine,542 miles of pipeline are below development in North The usa and 26,545 are deliberate.

United States

Whilst pipeline development has higher during North The usa, the heaviest process has been concentrated round main U.S. shale performs with takeaway capability constraints – maximum particularly, 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 the ones tasks have moved ahead following a hit open seasons that exposed sturdy buyer passion. Manufacturing in the freshest U.S. shale oil play started pushing towards takeaway capability in 2017, inflicting price lists to upward push, and surpassed it all over 2018.

A variety of main Permian tasks are scheduled for finishing touch all over 2019, together with the 730-mile Epic crude oil pipeline to Corpus Christi, Texas, which is growing into a big crude and NGL export hub. The Epic crude line will upload 590,000 bpd of takeaway capability, following the trail the Epic NGL pipeline which is also below development.

Plains All American expects first glide on its Cactus II venture in the second one part of this 12 months. Cactus II used to be proposed as a 585,000 bpd venture linking Permian manufacturing to Corpus Christi/Ingleside by means of current and two new pipelines. Because of buyer passion, Plains carried out a a hit 2nd open season for expanded capability. Cactus II is anticipated to begin partial provider within the 3rd quarter of 2019, Plains is concentrated on complete provider at the 670,000 bpd line in April 2020.

Different notable Permian crude oil tasks come with the Phillips 66/Enbridge Grey Oak Pipeline to Corpus Christi, Freeport and Houston. Grey Oak, which is scheduled to start out provider in the second one part of this 12 months, could have an preliminary capability of 385,000 bpd.

Maximum not too long ago, Houston-based Jupiter Power Staff commenced an open season in December for a 650-mile, 36-inch crude oil pipeline with anticipated finishing touch through the fourth quarter of 2020. The pipeline would have capability as much as 1 MMbpd with origination issues close to Crane and Gardendale/3 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 isn’t restricted to crude oil manufacturing, on the other hand. With related fuel accounting for roughly a 3rd of the Permian output and laws proscribing the quantity of fuel that may be flared, herbal fuel pipeline constraints have additionally put a ceiling on oil manufacturing whilst 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 herbal fuel infrastructure.


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

The 13 current herbal fuel interconnections from america have an import capability of about four.2 Bcf/d, in keeping with the World Power Company (EIA), with 4 of them interconnected to the Built-in Nationwide Transportation and Garage Gadget: El Hueco, Cuidad Mier, Reynosa and Argüelles. By way of the tip of this 12 months, 5 further interconnections are anticipated to begin operations.

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

TransCanada has two extra pipelines with anticipated finishing touch this 12 months: the 178-mile (287 km) Tuxpan-Tula, a $700 million venture with a capability of 886 MMcf/d, and the Tula-Villa de Reyes, a 36-inch, 260-mile (420 km) pipeline, supported through a 25-year provider contract with the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned energy corporate. [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 teach used to be adopted through this…

Moreover, the underlying era of hydraulic fracturing that has enabled the shale revolution is below higher scrutiny.

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

Then the opposite 3 wheels got here off…

After pushing aside offshore wind, even supposing they don’t appear to know why it doesn’t paintings…


Offshore wind manufacturing from the Gulf of Mexico, alternatively, is a sluggish work-in-progress and not going to compete with different resources of electrical energy for no less than the following decade, as the price of offshore wind stays considerably upper than onshore wind, sun and herbal fuel in Texas. That is regardless of important expansions of offshore wind happening in Europe, China and alongside the East Coast, and the favorable local weather for offshore wind in Texas originating from superb wind sources, a shallow shelf and current infrastructure from ongoing oil and fuel operations.



They made up our minds that the solution should be sun…


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

Solar energy these days accounts for not up to 1% of Texas’ power combine, however the quantity of put in solar energy within the state is anticipated to nearly triple through 2021.

With sturdy overlap between top manufacturing and top call for, particularly in the summertime, utility-scale sun is particularly well-suited from a grid integration point of view. Additionally, with considerably decrease cushy prices as in comparison to rooftop and dispensed sun, utility-scale sun blended with modest garage turns out a ravishing answer.



With solar energy accounting for not up to “1% of Texas’ power combine,” tripling the put in capability will very most likely now not transfer it above “1% of Texas’ power combine.”

Jan-Jun 2019 Call for and Power Document (ERCOT)

Texas sun useful resource isn’t in reality that excellent and the place it’s lovely excellent, it’s the place many 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 in the market has made the congestion worse.

Photovoltaic sun useful resource map (NREL)

Concerning the authors of the Forbes article…

Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti is the executive power officer on the College of Houston. Previous to his present place, Krishnamoorti served as period in-between vp for analysis and era switch for UH and the UHSystem. Right through 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 study for engineering, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering with affiliated appointments as professor of petroleum engineering and professor of chemistry. Dr. Krishnamoorti acquired his bachelor’s level in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Generation Madras and doctoral level in chemical engineering from Princeton College in 1994.

Ed Hirs is BDO Fellow for Herbal Assets and a UH Power Fellow on the College of Houston, the place he teaches power economics. to undergraduate and graduate scholars. 

UH Power is the College of Houston’s hub for power training, analysis and era incubation, running to form the power long run and forge new trade approaches within the power trade.


Concerning the writer of this WUWT submit…

I’ve been a geologist/geophysicist within the “local weather wrecking trade” (oil & fuel) since 1981, basically running the Gulf of Mexico, the second one maximum prolific oil play in those tangentially United States.

As a proud member of the “local weather wrecking trade”, I’m happy with our trade’s accomplishments. I latterly attended a salt tectonics convention on the College of Texas at Austin. The outlet remarks had been through Texas State Geologist and Director of the Bureau of Financial Geology, Scott Tinker. His remarks most commonly fascinated with how oil & fuel are integral elements of lifting folks out of power poverty and he closed with, “When somebody asks you what you do, answer with ‘I paintings within the oil & fuel trade, I carry folks out of poverty. What do you do?’” The “Ethical Case for Fossil Fuels” is plain.

I’ve a BS in Earth Science, with a geology focus and minor in math, along side 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 are living in Dallas with my spouse (additionally a geo) and 11 canine (nine rescues, most commonly Pomeranians, & 2 Corgis, who we like nearly up to the rescues) and I paintings in Houston… My trip has a YUGE carbon footprint. MAGA!!!

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