ERCOT Releases The 2014 Breakdown Of Electricity Generation In Texas

West Texas wind energyJust 10 years ago, the majority of electricity generated in Texas was derived from the burning of coal. Since then, the state has taken great strides to diversify away from the high carbon-emitting energy source.

The electricity production numbers are now available for 2014. Last year Texas generated 36% of its electricity from coal, 41% from natural gas, 12% from nuclear plants and 11% from wind.

Texas is the largest producer of wind energy in the U.S., accounting for 20% of all wind energy produced in the nation. As additional transmission lines get more of West Texas and the Panhandle connected to the ERCOT grid, that number should continue to grow.

See Also: New Transmission Lines To Bring West Texas Wind To Dallas And Austin

 

World’s Largest Carbon Capture Facility To Be Built Near Houston

The world’s largest carbon capture facility is coming to Texas.  The US Department of Energy has announced that work will soon begin a project to capture up to 90% of the carbon emissions from the W.A, Parish Generating Station; a coal-fired power plant southwest of Houston Texas.   Once captured, the CO2 will be pumped underground at the West Ranch oil field.

Pumping the CO2 underground will serve two purposes.  By injecting CO2 into pockets of hard to extract oil, the oil is liberated in a way that makes it easier to extract.  The process also results in the CO2 being sequestered underground rather than being released into the atmosphere.

The CO2 will be captured by processing the power plant’s exhaust gas through a solution of amines.  The amines will bind with the Co2 allowing it to be separated from the sulfates.  Later the amine solution will be heated; a process which releases the CO2.  The amine is recycled while the CO2 is pressurized and piped to the oil field where it will be used to help extract the hard to reach oil.

The West Ranch oil field, which has been in operation for over 75 years, has seen its production rates fall through conventional production techniques.  The carbon dioxide will reduce the oil’s viscosity and force it out of tight spots where it can be more easily extracted.   The oil will them be processed to remove any CO2 that has become mixed with the oil.  The CO2 can then be re-injected into the ground.

The size of the project was scaled up from original plans and will now entail capturing the CO2 from 240 MW of electricity production, making it the largest such operation in the world.   The DOE will be providing financial assistance for the project, whose principals include a subsidiary of NRG Energy.  NRG Energy is the parent company of Reliant Energy, a Texas electricity provider.

Although coal has long been the predominate source of electricity generation in the U.S., it has seen its market share slide in recent years as the abundance  of cheap natural gas has created a cheaper and cleaner alternative.   In Texas, the natural gas boom has helped electricity rates fall substantially since their highs in 2008.

See Also:  U.S. / Texas Oil Reserves At Highest Levels In Decades
See Also: Largest Federal Wind Farm To Be Built In Texas
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