Not Logged In Log In   Sign Up   Points Leaders
Follow Us    12:33 PM

GasBuddy News Article

51
votes
Wood-waste plant, meant to provide Austin with renewable energy, sits idle

Austin TX American Statesman -- For most of the 7 months since it rumbled to life, a wood-burning power plant in East Texas hasn’t been producing electricity for Austin Energy customers despite a $2.3 billion contract.

Simply put, the plant’s electricity is now too expensive to use. But, even as the plant sits mostly idle, Austin Energy pays a fee to cover its operating costs.

“It concerns me that customers are on the hook, paying for this plant to sit idle,” state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

The city-owned utility agreed to purchase power from the “biomass” plant in 2008 as part of a plan to aggressively invest in renewable energy and curb the city’s contribution to global climate change. But the deal was based partly on the expectation that federal taxes would raise the price of carbon-based fuels, making wood waste


Read the Full Article

Submitted Feb 14, 2013 By: DellDude2
Category: Daily News Article Discussions > Topics Add to favorite topics  
Author Topic: Wood-waste plant, meant to provide Austin with renewable energy, sits idle Back to Topics
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
Profile Pic
rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

Posts:27,625
Points:2,708,310
Joined:Aug 2005
Message Posted: Feb 19, 2013 5:14:54 PM

Actually, since all this started before the glut of NG, all it proves is that it's difficult to predict the future.
Profile Pic
E-Squirrel
Champion Author Orange County

Posts:3,352
Points:929,975
Joined:Feb 2005
Message Posted: Feb 19, 2013 4:40:53 PM

tomok advises:

"Be careful, very carful, how you write the contract when trying to get cheaper electricity for sale by using locally 'produced' fuel.
The local city bus company contracted for plant bio-diesel years ago and now pays a high cost for a supply of local bio-diesel. Alternate sources of local energy or fuel is not always a good deal but can cost much more in the long run."

Well, that is pretty much why they are called "alternate" fuels. If they were cheaper, they would just be "fuel". The fuels that we use now, are in use exactly because they are cheaper.

This plant was built to "prove" that you could generate electricity from "biomass". What it has proven, is that the scheme is uneconomic, and, that building the plant was a waste of money and resources.
Profile Pic
tomok
Champion Author Portland

Posts:42,699
Points:2,855,535
Joined:Aug 2006
Message Posted: Feb 19, 2013 3:37:37 PM

Wood-waste plant, meant to provide Austin with renewable energy, sits idle? Is there really that much waste wood in Texas to be able to produce that much electricity at a good price? The price of natural gas is so much cheaper then coal, wood or many other fuels for producing electricity. Also, be very mindful of what fuels are not very friendly to the environment and produce more greenhouse gases than necessary.
Be careful, very carful, how you write the contract when trying to get cheaper electricity for sale by using locally 'produced' fuel.
The local city bus company contracted for plant bio-diesel years ago and now pays a high cost for a supply of local bio-diesel. Alternate sources of local energy or fuel is not always a good deal but can cost much more in the long run.
Drive vehicles with high MPG, are very safe, reliable, have a ‘reasonable’ cost and a good ‘value’ for the money.
The price of fuel at the pump is too high!
Profile Pic
blupupher
Champion Author Houston

Posts:5,879
Points:1,253,760
Joined:Feb 2011
Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 6:16:13 AM

Austin, the oddball liberal pocket in Texas.
Profile Pic
kgbellman
Champion Author Ann Arbor

Posts:5,041
Points:1,240,915
Joined:Mar 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 11:20:44 PM

repeat
Profile Pic
Ray_10589
Champion Author New York

Posts:7,126
Points:1,675,135
Joined:May 2009
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 11:03:38 PM

thanks for the article
Profile Pic
Godozo
Champion Author Gary

Posts:1,312
Points:982,405
Joined:Dec 2010
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 10:26:02 PM

Biomass? Wouldn't waste wood be better used as chipboard for cheap housing?

Heck, when both environmentalists and hard-core carbonists complain about a source of energy, then maybe it's time to put it aside.
Profile Pic
LetemEatCake
Champion Author Oklahoma City

Posts:5,705
Points:1,360,915
Joined:Mar 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 10:13:11 PM


Interesting article, thanks for posing!
Profile Pic
bhuggsy69
Sophomore Author Houston

Posts:118
Points:19,040
Joined:Jun 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 10:02:28 PM

I bet the city still charges one of those miscellaneous charges for those folks that are in Austin, even though it does not produce electricity..
Profile Pic
mfeldstein
Champion Author Ottawa

Posts:10,378
Points:2,412,810
Joined:Feb 2007
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:57:27 PM

Not exactly a good portend for alternate fuel technologies.
Profile Pic
Prodaddy
Champion Author Houston

Posts:10,671
Points:2,398,220
Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:56:35 PM

I wonder how much money was wasted on this project
Profile Pic
JCClark2012
Champion Author New Hampshire

Posts:3,718
Points:902,625
Joined:Mar 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:53:56 PM

Ok
Profile Pic
bvrbill
Champion Author Eugene

Posts:6,795
Points:1,027,075
Joined:Jul 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:53:05 PM

Who is making these decisions?
Profile Pic
jorod55
Champion Author California

Posts:3,807
Points:940,790
Joined:Dec 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:49:26 PM

Use it or lose it. Make it produce or tear it down. Why pay for a dead horse.
Profile Pic
DustyHorse
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:8,337
Points:1,865,125
Joined:Oct 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:49:14 PM

Based on incorrect assumptions says it all.
Profile Pic
heydano67
Champion Author California

Posts:2,495
Points:811,750
Joined:Feb 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:48:20 PM

didn't quite pan out
Profile Pic
floridakeys
Champion Author Columbus

Posts:1,051
Points:370,855
Joined:Jan 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:47:17 PM

So ,this is what we get from the smartest folks in the room. Green energy is not the answer now ,the technology just isn't there. What a sad waste in so many ways, a conventional power plant should have been built.
Profile Pic
grt197
Champion Author Illinois

Posts:2,136
Points:504,605
Joined:Jan 2013
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:45:54 PM

yes yes
Profile Pic
Nshmidt
Sophomore Author New York

Posts:107
Points:414,065
Joined:Oct 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:43:51 PM

?
Profile Pic
SavALot
Champion Author Virginia Beach

Posts:10,547
Points:2,206,360
Joined:Apr 2005
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:43:05 PM

not helping Austin one bit
Profile Pic
BREW9
Champion Author Tampa

Posts:3,204
Points:3,419,675
Joined:Jun 2004
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:40:01 PM

waste
Profile Pic
OKRifle
Champion Author Oklahoma City

Posts:13,064
Points:2,306,700
Joined:Oct 2007
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:37:31 PM

I guess they will qualify for one of King Emperor Hussein Obama's stimulus handouts!
Profile Pic
drz614
Champion Author Harrisburg

Posts:4,654
Points:1,108,315
Joined:Aug 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:35:56 PM

this is the problem w/ green technology. the hype is there, with no business plan that follow thru w/o subsidies
Profile Pic
TBRR
Champion Author Jacksonville

Posts:4,486
Points:724,345
Joined:Dec 2007
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:32:55 PM

willing to bet the energy department under obummer provided a interest free loan or part of one of the ill gotten stimulus programs that fleeced the taxpayers.
Profile Pic
animal63
All-Star Author Indiana

Posts:989
Points:1,369,805
Joined:Oct 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:30:27 PM

that is too bad.
Profile Pic
mstearno
Champion Author Dayton

Posts:9,433
Points:2,152,110
Joined:Jan 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:27:54 PM

sad
Profile Pic
Dragnet
Champion Author Arizona

Posts:17,831
Points:3,400,255
Joined:Jul 2004
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:26:35 PM

There is the problem. A senator just shooting off his mouth and not doing a dran thing
Profile Pic
Lizzylou
Champion Author Stockton

Posts:8,818
Points:2,357,285
Joined:Oct 2005
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:25:20 PM

YES electricity extremely high!
Profile Pic
NO_SWEAT
Champion Author Toronto

Posts:6,478
Points:1,552,205
Joined:Jul 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:23:13 PM

Another way to maintain high gas prices.
Profile Pic
abacus44
Champion Author Toms River

Posts:5,656
Points:1,247,915
Joined:Jan 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:21:39 PM

Subsidies skew the market. If it can't pay for itself, dump it!
Profile Pic
MG_Sputnik
Champion Author Philadelphia

Posts:9,498
Points:2,463,875
Joined:Apr 2006
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:21:36 PM

Big time waste.
Profile Pic
msf1527
Champion Author San Bernardino

Posts:2,860
Points:641,370
Joined:Nov 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:20:12 PM

Ok
Profile Pic
The_DR
Champion Author New Jersey

Posts:4,734
Points:1,078,090
Joined:Aug 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:19:32 PM

What a waste
Profile Pic
Brucevanf
Champion Author New Brunswick

Posts:3,643
Points:750,175
Joined:Aug 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:17:34 PM

Someone made a really bad judgment call.
Profile Pic
sydb7
Champion Author Atlanta

Posts:5,208
Points:2,355,295
Joined:Mar 2003
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:15:49 PM

This was bad planning, "green" or not!
Profile Pic
snagged
Veteran Author Akron

Posts:446
Points:255,330
Joined:Oct 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:13:29 PM

Was Obama in on this?
Profile Pic
smoketown
Champion Author Cincinnati

Posts:8,362
Points:1,865,255
Joined:Feb 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:11:09 PM

What a rip off.
Profile Pic
NorthglennBill
Champion Author Denver

Posts:9,642
Points:1,965,195
Joined:Oct 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:07:24 PM

Only $2.3 billion to build an oversized fireplace? Wow!
Profile Pic
Bleeder
Champion Author Virginia

Posts:8,078
Points:2,054,775
Joined:Jan 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:07:05 PM

Sad story.
Profile Pic
Minutefan
Champion Author Springfield

Posts:4,663
Points:1,689,645
Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:07:00 PM

nice and gas prices remain inflated
Profile Pic
abcdMA
Champion Author Worcester

Posts:10,217
Points:2,073,665
Joined:Nov 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:05:34 PM

How much taxpayer money was wasted here
Profile Pic
Carol7777
Champion Author Houston

Posts:94,396
Points:655,770
Joined:Dec 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:05:19 PM

Sometimes you win; sometimes you don't.
Profile Pic
nimpy
Champion Author Indianapolis

Posts:10,169
Points:2,149,045
Joined:Oct 2007
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:05:14 PM

Good idea but it needs to work
Profile Pic
lippoe_sokan
Champion Author Provo

Posts:2,816
Points:684,950
Joined:Nov 2012
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:03:32 PM

Oh so many things wrong in this story! (Wrong, but not at all surprising.)
Profile Pic
Lukus
Champion Author Halifax

Posts:10,480
Points:2,163,025
Joined:Nov 2007
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:02:47 PM

ok
Profile Pic
John747
Champion Author Chicago

Posts:514,395
Points:4,134,885
Joined:Aug 2001
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:00:55 PM

Yet one more 'Green Energy' success story!
Profile Pic
bearzz
Champion Author California

Posts:3,718
Points:911,475
Joined:Mar 2011
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:59:07 PM

Gee . . . this sounds so familiar . . . another failing green energy project.
Profile Pic
30mpg80
Champion Author Lexington

Posts:14,045
Points:1,997,755
Joined:Nov 2008
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:58:03 PM

Not plagued with too many forests in that area, are they?
Profile Pic
suzmar
Champion Author Texas

Posts:3,497
Points:1,326,515
Joined:Jun 2006
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:58:01 PM

That sounds about right, typical renewable energy project, not cost effective.
Profile Pic
wayoung56
Champion Author Alabama

Posts:5,015
Points:1,312,110
Joined:Oct 2006
Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:55:56 PM

Hmmm...
Post a reply Back to Topics