From Zond to Enron Wind to GE Wind: Founder Interview (government enablement for the record)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 4, 2016 7 Comments

“Clearly the work of the U.S. Government laboratories played a crucial role in wind resource assessment and critically needed impetus to technology development―a role the private sector viewed as either too risky or representing an inadequate business opportunity. NREL has led and nurtured wind technology toward commercial viability since the 1970s and, in my view, this work represents one of the best return-on-investments in energy technology ever made by Uncle Sam.”

–  Jim Dehlsen, the founder of Zond Energy Systems (2003)

Enron might have saved the US wind industry in the mid-to-late 1990s. It began with its purchase of Zond Energy Systems in late 1996. At the time, Zond was in financial trouble, and its main domestic competitor, Kenetech, was in worse shape and would soon declare bankruptcy.

With Enron’s capital (and reputation at the time), the renamed Enron Wind Corp.

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Reasons to Sell Enron Wind (October 1998 memo to Ken Lay)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 22, 2013 3 Comments

“Wind is almost a pure subsidy play, which means that Enron will be at odds with the market and must continually intervene into the political processes to extend subsides and/or create new ones. This is an expensive process and may trade away what we are lobbying for elsewhere.”

In my last seven (of 16) years at Enron, my title was Director of Public Policy Analysis. In this role, I was Enron’s libertarian, balancing, I suppose, Enron’s Left environmentalist John Palmisano, author of the infamous Kyoto memo of December 1997.

Enron had multiple profit centers around the global warming issue, which made my internal case for rejecting climate alarmism/policy activism an uphill one. But I got my licks in, including with some ‘e-mail wars’ with Palmisano. I have written numerous posts at MasterResource on Enron’s rent-seeking business strategy and will further set the historical record straight with a forthcoming book in Enron-inspired trilogy.

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DOE-designate Perry’s Windy Past (Texas, per-Enron, a wind welfare queen)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 14, 2016 16 Comments

“Added Paul Sadler, executive director of the Wind Coalition, in the New York Times: ‘He [Perry] has been a stalwart in defense of wind energy in this state — no question about it.’”

– Quoted in Kate Galbraith, “As Governor, Perry Backed Wind, Gas and Coal.” New York Times, August 20, 2011.

MasterResource, which plays no (crony) favorites, has been critical of Rick (‘all-energy-things-to-all people’) Perry. Sort of sounds like a politician on the move who wants to fill his political coffers with green money too.

With the news that former Texas Governor Perry is the secretary-designate for the US Department of Energy, I share some quotations from past posts at MasterResource on his pro-wind tenure in Texas. Comments welcome.

“Arguably, Mr. Perry’s most interesting energy efforts have related to wind power, which has boomed under his administration.

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Texas Windpower: EU Energy, Enron Legacy

By 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.

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Remembering When Enron Saved the U.S. Wind Industry (Best of MasterResource)

By -- September 4, 2010 15 Comments Continue Reading

Remembering When Enron Saved the U.S. Wind Industry (January 1997)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- January 19, 2010 7 Comments Continue Reading

Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), T. Boone Pickens, and the Enron Legacy of Windpower

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 24, 2009 15 Comments Continue Reading

Texas Republicans: Backlash to Big Wind Brewing

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 15, 2022 1 Comment Continue Reading

“THIS AGREEMENT WILL BE GOOD FOR ENRON STOCK!!” (Enron’s Kyoto memo turns 24)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- December 15, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

Texas’s Renewables: How Did the Problem Start? (Enron, Republicans Running Wild)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- August 23, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading