The TxEnergyUpdate keeps you up to date on the energy sector's latest news and stories
INTERNATIONAL & NATIONAL ENERGY NEWS
Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub says that if President Biden wants to produce more oil to lower gas prices, he should ask U.S. producers first. “If I was going to make a call, I’d make a local call first,” she said. “I wouldn’t make a long distance call.” The long distance call is in reference to President Biden pushing OPEC+ to produce more oil over the last few weeks. The TxEnergyProject has previously pointed out that “If we need more oil production, we only need to look beneath our feet here in America.”
California-based energy company Chem-Energy Corp will invest $1.15 billion in Caldwell County over the next decade. The company plans to build two power plants that feed into the ERCOT grid using a combination of solar panels and battery storage. The first will be near Kyle and is estimated to be operational by 2023. The second is near San Marcos with no operational date set yet. The project is expected to bring 400 jobs by the end of the first year of operations and is estimated to peak at 775 jobs by the ninth year. “Caldwell County is the perfect strategic choice for our flagship operations in Texas,” said Robert Hayward, Chem-Energy’s chief operating officer. “With available land in a growing region, close proximity to Texas State University and a robust workforce pipeline, the Texas Innovation Corridor provides an ideal environment for our organization’s growth.” Chem-Energy will also receive property tax rebates adding up to no more than $27.2 million for the power plants.
TEXAS ENERGY NEWS
Tesla can now sell electricity to retail customers in many parts of Texas. Tesla Energy Ventures was approved for a license on November 3rd by the Public Utility Commission of Texas. In their written statement approving Tesla, the PUC said “Tesla Energy Ventures has demonstrated it ... has the capability to comply with all applicable ERCOT policies, protocols, guidelines, procedures and rules." Customers who live in areas of the state with municipally-owned utilities or electric cooperatives will not be able to buy electricity from Tesla Ventures since these areas are not open to retail electric competition.
Sweetwater, Texas has a turbine problem. With almost 400 wind turbines surrounding the town, discarded turbine parts are piling up in a field literally across from the Sweetwater Cemetery. Ken Becker of the Sweetwater Economic Development Agency said a company planned to recycle the parts but it just hasn’t happened yet, as it’s not financially beneficial at the moment. But Sweetwater is not alone. In the U.S. alone, 8,000 blades will be removed each year for the next four years. They will be cut up, hauled off, and buried in landfills, according to Bloomberg. Green energy supporters will deflect and point to new blades being developed that can possibly be recycled in the future. But towns like Sweetwater owe it to their communities to find a responsible way of disposing windmill parts. Because while having a windmill blade as a welcome sign is quaint, having a pile of blades collecting dust in a field, is not.
- Upcoming PUC Meetings
The Public Utility Commission of Texas will host an open meeting on Thursday, November 18th, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. Much of the meeting will handle applications and complaints. But here are some items of note on the agenda: Year-End 2020 Electric Utility Earnings Reports, reports of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas for Calendar Year 2021, critical natural gas facilities and entities, review of wholesale electric market design, rules applicable to electric service providers, general discussion on ERCOT oversight.
You can watch the livestream here.
On Friday, November 19th, the PUC will host another open meeting. Main points of discussion will include agency review by the Sunset Advisory Commission, customer service issues, infrastructure reliability, electric reliability, issues/investigations into Winter Storm Uri, and more. The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m.
You can watch the livestream here.
MEANWHILE IN CALIFORNIA...
On Monday, the average gallon of gas in California hit $4.682 per gallon, breaking the record high that was set just the day before. The American Automobile Association blamed rainstorms in Northern California for slowing production. "It's a bit of a supply crunch we have right now, there's nothing major, until the refineries in Northern California can get back up to full production capacity," said Jeffrey Spring, Corporate Communications Manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California. Some areas in Northern California are seeing $5 per gallon while the Bay Area is sitting around $4.85 per gallon. The article also sourced suppliers that have “been unable – or unwilling – to produce more oil” as reason for the record high gas prices.