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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


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Submitted Feb 14, 2013 By: DellDude2
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Author Topic: Wood-waste plant, meant to provide Austin with renewable energy, sits idle Back to Topics
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
rjhenn
Champion Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Feb 19, 2013 4:14:54 PM

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

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Points:1,028,625
Joined:Feb 2005
Message Posted: Feb 19, 2013 3:40:53 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.
tomok
Champion Author Portland

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Message Posted: Feb 19, 2013 2:37:37 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!
blupupher
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Feb 15, 2013 5:16:13 AM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 10:20:44 PM

repeat
Ray_10589
Champion Author New York

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 10:03:38 PM

thanks for the article
Godozo
Champion Author Gary

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:26:02 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.
LetemEatCake
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:13:11 PM


Interesting article, thanks for posing!
bhuggsy69
Sophomore Author Houston

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 9:02:28 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..
mfeldstein
Champion Author Ottawa

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:57:27 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:56:35 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:53:56 PM

Ok
bvrbill
Champion Author Eugene

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:53:05 PM

Who is making these decisions?
jorod55
Champion Author California

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:49:26 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:49:14 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:48:20 PM

didn't quite pan out
floridakeys
Champion Author Columbus

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:47:17 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.
grt197
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:45:54 PM

yes yes
Nshmidt
Sophomore Author New York

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:43:51 PM

?
SavALot
Champion Author Virginia Beach

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:43:05 PM

not helping Austin one bit
BREW9
Champion Author Tampa

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:40:01 PM

waste
OKRifle
Champion Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:37:31 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:35:56 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:32:55 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.
animal63
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:30:27 PM

that is too bad.
mstearno
Champion Author Dayton

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:27:54 PM

sad
Dragnet
Champion Author Arizona

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:26:35 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:25:20 PM

YES electricity extremely high!
NO_SWEAT
Champion Author Toronto

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:23:13 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:21:39 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:21:36 PM

Big time waste.
msf1527
Champion Author San Bernardino

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:20:12 PM

Ok
The_DR
Champion Author New Jersey

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:19:32 PM

What a waste
Brucevanf
Champion Author New Brunswick

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:17:34 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:15:49 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:13:29 PM

Was Obama in on this?
smoketown
Champion Author Cincinnati

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:11:09 PM

What a rip off.
NorthglennBill
Champion Author Denver

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:07:24 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:07:05 PM

Sad story.
Minutefan
Champion Author Springfield

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:07:00 PM

nice and gas prices remain inflated
abcdMA
Champion Author Worcester

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:05:34 PM

How much taxpayer money was wasted here
Carol7777
Champion Author Houston

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:05:19 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:05:14 PM

Good idea but it needs to work
lippoe_sokan
Champion Author Provo

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:03:32 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:02:47 PM

ok
John747
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 8:00:55 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 7:59:07 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 7:58:03 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 7:58:01 PM

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

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 7:55:56 PM

Hmmm...
toadNY
Champion Author Albany

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Message Posted: Feb 14, 2013 7:55:40 PM

Just like are government pay people Not to produce!
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