alternative energy

TOPEKA, Kansas — Curtis Sneden remembers what impatient investors did to Topeka-based Payless Shoes. Pressure for profits now and the bankruptcy that followed.

Now the president of the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce looks at regional utility giant Evergy and worries what might come of pressure from activist investment firm Elliott Management Corp.’s demands for a higher stock price.

For the first time ever, wind has surpassed coal as an energy source in Texas. 

Data released this month by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas shows wind created 22 percent of the electricity used in the first half of the year, edging out coal by 1 percentage point.

Satellites built in San Antonio will revolutionize our understanding of solar wind and space weather — the energy discharge that blanked out communications satellites, damaged power grids and affected flights.

The way Westar Energy runs its coal plants in Kansas unnecessarily costs consumers millions of dollars a year through an obscure, if common, practice known as self-committing generation.

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?

Corporate investments in renewable energy used to be symbolic. A few solar panels here, a small wind farm investment there. But in 2018 some companies became voracious green energy consumers.

Kaiser Permanente’s Denver administrative office is awash with rooftop solar and solar panels on carports.

Wikimedia Commons

ENERGY - originally aired 7 p.m., TUESDAY, NOV. 27, 2018 


UT Energy Institute

Wind power remains the least expensive way to generate electricity in almost every county in the High Plains listening region.

In fact, according to a map published Tuesday in the Dallas Morning News, wind is king across a wide swath of the middle part of the U.S., ranging from the Big Bend area all the way up to the Dakotas and the Canadian border.

Wallethub

The average American family spends $2,000 per year on energy. But some states are far more energy efficient than others. The personal finance website Wallethub set out to discover which states are doing more with less energy.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Last week, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced a federal plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, reports Texas Monthly.

The move surprised many observers in the energy community, as the former Texas Governor had made a name for himself in the Lone Star State as a champion of renewable energy, especially wind power.

Environmental regulations and commitments to address global warming are certainly not on terra firma. The Trump administration has vowed to ease emissions controls for power plants and to get coal miners back to work.

The Jeffrey Energy Center, in St. Mary’s, Kansas, near Topeka, is one such coal-fired power plant.

Nebraska's Solar Power Generation On the Rise

Jul 10, 2017
Creative Commons CC0

Nebraska’s solar power generation has increased from around one megawatt at the start of 2016 to over 13 megawatts by mid-2017.

That is what David Bracht of the Nebraska Energy Office recently told NET Nebraska.

ewea.org

While winds were blamed for spreading wildfires that raged across parts of the High Plains in early March, they are also being credited with boosting wind power’s share in High Plains states, including Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, solar and wind power for the first time accounted for 10 percent of a month’s electricity generated in the U.S.

energy.gov

Five states, including Kansas, get at least 20 percent of their electricity needs from wind, but as The New York Times reports, alternative energy investments like wind and solar power have not performed well in recent years.

To make matters worse, the Trump administration has opted for a resurgence of coal and other carbon fuels, not an emphasis on alternative energy.

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Colorado and Texas each rank in the top 10 un the nation as hubs of solar energy employment.

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado’s solar companies added more than 1,000 workers last year, according to the National Solar Jobs Census, allowing the state to maintain its top-10 ranking as a hub of solar energy employment.

American Wind Energy Association

Colorado could take center stage on the topic of climate change under a Donald Trump Environmental Protection Agency.

Eddie Seal / Bloomberg News

Texas is the most productive state for wind power—by far. The Lone Star State pumps out 18,000 megawatts of energy a year, reports the MIT Technology Review. And that’s not counting an additional 5,500 megawatts of possible further capacity, which is equal to California’s entire installed wind capacity.