Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

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New Tool Predicts Bird Deaths from Wind Turbines

Texas leads the nation in wind power, but some environmentalists worry about bird deaths cause by wind turbines – typically, birds fly into the blades of the turbines. Now, a new approach pioneered by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to decrease those fatalities by trying to calculate the probability of […]

How Denmark and Texas Became Wind Energy Kings

Standing on the shore of the Baltic sea a few miles outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, the view’s about what you’d expect. Rocky shore, grey horizon, a boat here or there. But this shore is special. Look up, and you’ll see — and hear — three giant offshore wind turbines cutting through the air. Each stands 500 […]

Price of Wind Energy Goes Down in Texas

You thought you might never hear it, but wind power is becoming a formidable price competitor with fossil fuels in Texas, and Austin’s public utility is revamping its programs to suit. In the year 2000, Austin Energy unrolled a program giving consumers the option to fund wind energy development and the city became a recognized […]

As Renewable Energy Grows, Wind and Solar Pull Ahead of Hydropower

Wind and solar energy now routinely surpasses hydroelectric generation as an energy source in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Hydropower is the largest source of renewable energy in the U.S. (but, not surprisingly, not in Texas). The state’s online Window on State Government calls it “a tiny portion of the […]

Honey, I Shrunk The Windmills! To The Size Of An Ant

From KERA News Breakthroughs: Commercial wind turbines stand more than a hundred feet tall, with blades nearly as long. The wind turbines developed by engineers at the University of Texas at Arlington are a bit smaller… just half than the size of an ant. In a cold lab room at UT Arlington electrical engineering professor J.C. Chiao shows off a […]

How New Transmission Lines Are Bringing More Wind Power to Texas Cities

We’re all going to be paying for it, so you might be glad to know that a new set of transmission lines to bring wind power from the Panhandle and West Texas to folks in North and Central Texas appear to be off to a good start. According to a new federal analysis this week, […]

As Renewables Grow in Texas, Battles Over Fees and Subsidies Emerge

In the coming years, the federal government wants Texas to reduce its carbon emissions by about 40 percent. With a goal like that, you might expect to see more programs aimed at promoting renewable energy in Texas. But something like the opposite appears to be happening. Donna Nelson, chair of Texas’ Public Utility Commission, asked last […]

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! No, It’s an Airborne Wind Turbine!

Imagine a blimp, like the one you might have looked up at in awe when you were a kid. Now, imagine that blimp cut into a cylindrical shape, with a wind turbine in the middle. It’s called the Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT), and it’s what Altaeros Energies imagines will be the future of wind energy. By […]

Texas Wind Power Breaks Another Record

Another record was set for wind power generation this week, according to the group that manages much of the state’s power. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) says Wednesday evening, wind power generation on the grid reached10,296 megawatts (MW), or enough to power 5 million Texas homes during times of regular demand. That beat […]

What Do Plane Flights and Wind Farms Have in Common? Turbulence

Turbulence is a menace to more than just airplane passengers. As wind power grows in Texas and beyond, its impact on wind turbines is becoming a challenge for energy generation. In a recent study released by the University of Texas at San Antonio, mechanical engineering professor Kiran Bhaganagar found that placing  turbines too closely together in a […]

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