Immediate Release: August 10, 2011
Contact: Cyrus Reed, (512) 740-4086
Eva Hernandez, (512) 229-1550
Coastal Wind Power Helps Texas Fight Blackouts
Wind Generates 9.9% of Texas Electricity in 2011
Wind energy is playing an increasingly important
role in Texas’ electricity grid. On Monday, ERCOT
President H.B. Trip Doggett praised coastal wind
for helping prevent a crisis during record-setting
power demands stemming from an intense heat wave.
ERCOT also announced that wind energy supplied
9.9% of Texas’ total electricity from January
1 – June 30 of 2011, up from 7.8% in 20101.
Iowa also announced this week that the state
had reached a major milestone in generating 20%
of its total electricity from wind power.
"Coastal wind played a critical role
in meeting peak daytime demand during these past
few weeks," said Cyrus Reed with
the Sierra Club. "The data from coastal wind projects
indicate that capacity is even greater than previously thought.
With exciting new wind projects being considered by Austin
Energy for the City of Austin and elsewhere in the state,
we think the time is right to build more carefully-sited
coastal wind projects."
The City of Austin will hear presentations next week about
a proposed coastal wind project from Austin Energy, which
hopes to bring 291 MW of on-shore wind power into operation
by December 2012. This exciting proposal comes as Texans
are battling a proposed coal-fired power plant outside Houston
and a proposed pet-coke plant in Corpus Christi. Local residents
have expressed concern about new air pollution caused by
these plants, as well as water used for operation.
is currently baking in a severe drought, and water-intensive
energy production is slowing as a result. Hydraulic fracturing,
a method to extract natural gas, is highly water-intensive
and has slowed in the Eagle Ford Shale as a result of low
water levels. Wind energy requires no water to operate, unlike
hydraulic fracturing, coal, nuclear, and natural gas-fired
San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro recently
announced plans to build a 400-MW solar generating facility
outside the city, the largest proposed solar facility in
the nation. "Coastal wind has great potential to meet Texas’ electricity
needs and serve as an economic boon to our communities on
the Gulf. Solar also represents a huge opportunity to diversify
our electricity grid and generate clean, safe, homegrown
electricity," said Eva Hernandez of the Sierra Club.
These exciting announcements come during Sierra Club’s Clean
Air Week, celebrating clean air safeguards that protect public
health and the environment. With EPA expected to release
new ozone safeguards soon, coastal wind energy represents
an opportunity to meet Texas’ electricity needs without the
air pollution from traditional coal-fired or pet coke-fired