Analysis: A power test for Texas voters
After last winter’s near-statewide electric blackouts, Texas lawmakers went after regulators they deemed responsible but tiptoed around the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas. Now voters have a chance, if they want it, to send the state a message.
Texas energy company threatens to cut off plants powering 400,000 homes
One of Texas’ largest power providers asked state regulators to force the Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer to continue natural gas service to its power plants.Luminant Corp. says that Energy Transfer has threatened to stop providing natural gas to its plants as soon as Monday because of $21.6 million in fees related to last February's winter storm, according to a report from WFAA.Why it matters: Luminant power plants provide energy to 400,000 Texas homes, businesses, schools and hosnews.yahoo.com
400,000 Texas homes and businesses could lose power over financial dispute between energy companies
Vistra Corp. asked the Railroad Commission of Texas to prevent Energy Transfer LP from cutting off fuel to five of its power plants on Monday. Vistra said the power supply to at least 400,000 homes and businesses could be impacted.
Capital Highlights — State lowers price cap for power providers
The state’s Public Utility Commission last week lowered the maximum allowable wholesale price for electricity by almost half, from $9,000 per megawatt hour to $5,000.The move came after prices soared [San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
Analysis: Betting a Texas election on a weather forecast
Gov. Greg Abbott says he can "guarantee" there won't be blackouts this winter in Texas after one that knocked out power for some people for four days last February. That's the kind of pre-election prediction that can make a weather forecaster more useful than a political poll.
New Texas rules after blackout, but not for this winter
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Regulators of Texas' oil and gas industry that buckled during February's deadly freeze moved Tuesday toward making some producers more prepared for cold weather, but not in time f[San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
Texas regulators pass rule aimed at preventing natural gas producers from having power cut off during future winter storms
But Texas oil and gas regulators addressed only part of the problem that led millions of Texans to lose power for days after February’s winter storm, and gas producers likely won’t be required to weatherize until 2023.
Power companies required to better prepare plants for winter in first phase of rule approved by Texas regulators
Texas utility regulators on Thursday approved a rule requiring power companies to better prepare for winter weather — based on recommendations that were made, but never acted upon, a decade ago by exp[San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
Power companies required to better prepare plants for winter in first phase of rule approved by Texas regulators
The state Public Utility Commission adopted a rule — which experts first recommended a decade ago following a winter storm — requiring power companies to use “best efforts” to ensure plants can operate in the winter.
Oil industry helped handpick members of Texas advisory group for electric grid reliability, emails show
Oil and gas industry groups provided a list of names to the Railroad Commission for appointment to a council formed in response to the February power crisis. All four of the industry's top choices were selected.
Texas senators blast regulator for power grid winterization loophole lawmakers wrote into law
In a committee hearing Tuesday, Texas senators were furious that natural gas companies won’t have to better prepare their facilities for extreme weather before this winter and rebuked the Texas Railro[San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
Sweeping legislation to overhaul state’s electricity market in response to winter storm heads to Texas House after Senate’s unanimous approval
The Texas Senate on Monday unanimously approved a sweeping bill that would overhaul the state’s electricity industry and infrastructure, including mandating that power plants prepare for extreme weather and outlawing risky indexed retail electric plans. Senate Bill 3, filed by Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner of Georgetown, now heads to the Texas House where its prospects are uncertain. Experts say the process of retrofitting the state’s power plants for winter could be difficult and costly, but not impossible, depending on the types of upgrades eventually mandated by regulators. Known as TERC, the board coordinates state energy regulators, electricity generators and the natural gas fuel industry to ensure reliable gas distribution for electricity. The PUC regulates the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s main power grid.
Texas’ natural gas and power generators would have to prepare for extreme temperatures under bill Senate committee approved
A bill that would overhaul Texas’ energy industry — including mandating weatherization for natural gas and power generators — was approved by a Texas Senate committee on Thursday. Many power generators and gas companies were ill-suited for the freezing temperatures in February, which led gas pipelines to freeze and power transmission to falter. AdA Texas House committee earlier this month passed a similar weatherization bill. “I’m convinced that we’re making a big mistake by attacking a problem that isn’t a problem, just because we feel like it is a problem.”Earlier this month, the state Senate scrambled to pass Senate Bill 2142. Dan Patrick, who leads the Texas Senate, called for the resignation of its three members in the aftermath of the winter storm.
Oil and gas interests left to “self-regulate” in aftermath of winter storm as Texas politicians pile on to ERCOT
The political fallout from the long-lasting Texas power outages have hit both entities hard after Gov. AdYet politically powerful natural gas companies, along with their regulators, appear so far to have escaped the wrath of the governor and the Legislature. Natural gas is the largest source of generation on Texas’ grid, especially during the winter. Lawmakers spent relatively little time questioning natural gas production and transportation executives. During the House committee hearing, lawmakers asked Staples and natural gas pipeline companies to more aggressively prepare for emergencies.
ERCOT: No energy source was safe from this week’s winter storm
SAN ANTONIO – Top officials of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the agency that regulates the state’s electric grid, said Friday that no energy source was safe from the massive winter storm this week. AdThat choice kept the state’s electric grid from a possible catastrophic blackout, ERCOT officials previously said. (KSAT)The deadly storm has reignited arguments about the state’s energy plan, including whether it over invested in renewable energy sources. Still, wind energy accounts for less than a quarter of the state’s electricity, a figure that is lower in winter months, ERCOT officials said. AdThat supply, according to ERCOT officials, would have been just as vulnerable to the elements.
Texas Has Elected A Climate Change Denier to the Railroad Commission
That’s how long we have to make massive reductions in carbon emissions before some of the worst effects of climate change become irreversible, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It will be nearly impossible to reduce greenhouse gases without better regulating the oil and gas industry, which has driven man-made climate change since the Industrial Revolution. On Tuesday, Republican Jim Wright, the owner of an oilfield waste recycling company, beat Democrat Chrysta Castañeda, an energy lawyer, for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission. Flaring has become one of the biggest issues facing the Railroad Commission in recent months, as environmentalists and oil majors have joined forces to address the issue. In 2017, the Railroad Commission filed a cease-and-desist order against the Wright-owned DeWitt Recyclable Products and was later fined more than $180,000 for improperly handling waste at a South Texas facility.sacurrent.com
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg funnels $2.6 million into Texas Railroad Commission campaign
click to enlarge Wikimedia Commons / Gage SkidmoreMichael Bloomberg responds to the crowd during a campaign appearance. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has kicked $2.6 million into Democrat Chrysta Castañeda's campaign to serve on the Texas Railroad Commission, the state's oil and gas regulatory board, the Texas Tribune reports Even though the commission oversees one of the Texas' key industries, races for its three seats typically don't attract major contributions, especially from out of state. All three have been in GOP hands for years.Castañeda, a Dallas engineer and attorney with energy-industry experience, told thethat Bloomberg's contribution has allowed her to buy TV ads in every major Texas market.She's running against Orange Grove businessman Jim Wright, who scored a surprise win against Republican railroad commissioner Ryan Sitton in the March primary. In her TV spots, Castañeda highlights the commission's work and explains that it once fined a business owned by Wright for violating state environmental rules.Since suspending his presidential campaign in March, Bloomberg has made millions in contributions to Democratic candidates.sacurrent.com
Monday is your deadline to register to vote in the Texas primary runoff
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas TribuneTexans who want to vote in the upcoming Texas primary runoff election have until Monday, to register. Greg Abbott delayed the upcoming primary runoffs from May to July after the coronavirus pandemic hit the state of Texas. The other statewide Democratic primary runoff is for a seat on the Texas Railroad Commission, a regulatory agency that oversees the oil and natural gas industry. Voters who voted in the Republican primary in March cannot cross parties and vote in the Democratic primary and vice versa. See the primary runoff ballot here and add key Texas 2020 election dates to your calendar here.
Parsley Energy CEO says Texas must cut oil production, which hasn't happened since the 1970s
Parsley Energy CEO Matt Gallagher on Wednesday told CNBC's Jim Cramer that the state of Texas must issue an oil production cut, or risk putting almost 1 million jobs across the country in jeopardy. If carried out, it would mark the first time Texas has cut production in nearly five decades when OPEC tightened its hold on the market. Midland, Texas-based Diamondback Energy, however, is opposed to a state-mandated production cut. The discussions are being held with the backdrop of at least 16 million jobs lost in the U.S. amid the coronavirus outbreak. In response to the evaporating demand for oil amid the pandemic, Parsley decided to cut capital expenditure spending by 66%, Gallagher told Cramer in the interview.cnbc.com
These are the three big things to focus on from OPEC and the G-20 meetings over the next 48 hours
Leonhard Foeger | ReutersThere are three big things to focus on from OPEC and the G-20 meetings over the next 48 hours: 1) total global output cut, 2) benchmark production levels for those cuts, and 3) the length of time of any formal deal. The Cut MathThe world is expected to cut an unprecedented 12 million to 15 million barrels of oil per day from global production. Benchmarks and quotasOne major sticking point of any OPEC+ Russia deal is from what level of production do any Saudi cuts originate. Saudi production has risen over the past two months as the market share and price war kicked off. It's a hot topic for another day, but if OPEC believes the commission will vote for quotas, it could take another million or so barrels from the global market.cnbc.com
Pipeline giant sues Railroad Commission, alleging lax oversight of natural gas flaring
A natural gas flare burns in Pecos County in West Texas. State regulations allow producers to flare gas for up to 10 days after they're done drilling an oil or gas well. But the commission ultimately approved Exco’s flaring extension request 2-to-1 on Aug. 6 with Commission Chairman Wayne Christian casting the lone dissenting vote. He added that it didn't make sense economically for the commission to force Exco to go through the motions to sell natural gas when it brings such a low price. “Natural gas flaring has long been recognized as wasteful and environmentally harmful,” the company said in its petition.
Lawsuit, Environmentalists Take Aim at Texas Railroad Commission's Lax Enforcement of Gas Flaring Rules
The pipeline operator says doing so wastes state resources.Even so, Exco appears to have legal rights to burn the gas. The commission gave the company permission to flare at more than 130 wells in late 2017, according to the. "The data shows that routine flaring and venting wastes valuable natural resources reduces local air quality and significantly contributes to climate change," the letter reads. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, San Antonio Current has been keeping San Antonio informed for years. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture.sacurrent.com
Unlikely alliance fighting pipeline in Texas Hill Country
Unlike the Dakota Access Pipeline project that sparked massive protests in 2016 and 2017 over fears it would hurt the environment and sacred Native American sites, opposition to the Texas pipeline has largely played out of public view. "That's the purpose of this project, to capture that natural gas and ship it to market," Fore said. Texas already has the most expansive pipeline network in the country with more than 460,000 miles (740,250 kilometers) of channels zigzagging through it. Those strange bedfellows have held townhalls, formed grassroots community campaigns, and lodged lawsuits against Kinder Morgan. "No one has fought (Kinder Morgan) harder and no one has fought them longer than we have in the Hill Country," he said.chicagotribune.com