NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Texas Wind Power Lines Bust Budget

November 4, 2011

Though Texas now leads the nation as the top-producer of wind energy, this title does not come without additional baggage.  The disadvantages of this form of green energy production are numerous and cause it to be an altogether inefficient means of producing electricity, says the Heartland Institute.

The most important detractor is its location.  As opposed to coal-fired power plants which can be relatively close to urban centers, wind energy must be collected in rural areas where the conditions are more optimal.  This electricity must then be transported via power lines to the urban areas they hope to serve.  The problems here are twofold:

  • First, the power lines and new infrastructure necessary to transport wind energy is enormously expensive.
  • Second, much of the electricity produced is lost in transportation anyway.

Texas is feeling the squeeze of this first factor as cost projections for its new, wind-energy friendly infrastructure are rising.

  • The independent contractor assigned the job has raised its total estimated bill from the original figure of $4.9 billion to $6.8 billion -- a 40 percent increase that amounts to $800 per household in the state.
  • However, the costs associated with wind energy are not isolated to the costs of infrastructure, as wind is also a much more expensive form of energy to capture and produce than other, more traditional sources.
  • These increased costs will be felt in higher electricity premiums for the state's energy-consuming residents.

Source: Kenneth Artz, "Texas Wind Power Lines Bust Budget," Heartland Institute, November 2011.

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