Texas Windpower: EU Energy, Enron LegacyBy Josiah Neeley -- February 9, 2012 14 Comments
Texas and Europe don’t have a lot in common. But when it comes to government support for renewable energy, the Lone Star state has followed the same course as many European nations.
In the late 1990s, while the European Union was urging member nations to adopt targets for the percentage of their energy produced from renewable sources, Texas enacted a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) mandating that the state’s competitive electric providers buy a minimum 2,000 MW of qualifying renewable energy by 2009. The purchase mandate was part of a broad electricity restructuring bill sponsored by Enron Corp., parent of Enron Wind Corporation, a story detailed elsewhere at MasterResource.
The Texas Legislature, with the support of Governor Rick Perry, later increased the RPS to 10,000-MW by 2025. Texas met this target for installed wind capacity in 2010, a full fifteen years ahead of schedule.…Continue Reading
Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), T. Boone Pickens, and the Enron Legacy of WindpowerBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 24, 2009 15 Comments
Last December, Texas governor Rick Perry, speaking at a Houston fundraiser, sadly noted how President George W. Bush had lost his way in Washington, D.C. His good friend had compromised his principles and left the nation in a lurch, however unintentionally.
But then the governor launched into his Texas-is-great stump speech that included kudos to windpower, a new large industry (no) thanks to a legislative mandate requiring that Texas electricity retailers purchase qualifying renewable energy. (Wind is the most economical of the qualifiers.) The 1999 mandate, enacted with the crucial help of Enron lobbyists, was increased in 2002 with a powerful wind lobby at work. And so at the point of a gun, Texas became the leading windpower state in the country, passing California along the way.
So it was not surprising that last Saturday night Gov.…Continue Reading
‘Green’ Energy vs. the Environment (Enron to BP to PG&E to Hawaiian Electric)By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 30, 2023 No Comments
“Looking back with hindsight, the business opportunities were on the generation side, and the utility was going out for bid with all these big renewable-energy projects. But in retrospect, it seems clear, we weren’t as focused on these fire risks as we should have been.”
– Doug McLeod, former Maui county energy commissioner (quoted in WSJ, below)
Opportunity cost is a central concept in economics. Economics is about the unseen versus the seen. Resources spent in one direction are not spent in another. The same goes for corporations as politically correct, economically incorrect priorities crowd out good. Climate change policy is a premier example.
Government-forced substitution of dilute, intermittent energies for reliable incumbents has not only cost taxpayers and ratepayers. It has also cost the environment–dearly. The recent saga of Hawaiian Electric’s preoccupation with “the energy transition” at the expense of grid safety and reliability is the latest example of this.…Continue Reading
Notes: 1998 Enron Meeting on Climate ChangeBy Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 9, 2023 No Comments
“… why doesn’t a congressional subcommittee call these companies and a few more to tell us exactly what they are up to and what is going to happen to energy prices where parties have to buy credits for something that is not a pollutant? After the meeting the company that has done the most to sell Kyoto should be awarded naming rights.”
I had a front row seat to many things energy and climate during my 16 years at Enron (1985–2001). At Political Capitalism, I described my Enron experience debating climate science and renewable policy (here).
Enron, in the words of a Greenpeace ex, was “the company most responsible for sparking off the greenhouse civil war in the hydrocarbon business.” [Jeremy Leggett, The Carbon War (London: Penguin Books, 1999, p.…Continue Reading