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Natural gas vs. wind feud brews in Texas

Natural gas vs. wind feud brews in Texas

Posting in Energy

Texas is increasingly relying on wind turbines to create electric power and that's annoying the state's natural gas industry. This battle may be about to spread to other states.

Texas is increasingly relying on wind turbines to create electric power and that's annoying the state's natural gas industry.

The Wall Street Journal chronicles the wind power vs. natural gas feud. The Journal notes how the argument that wind power is a compliment to other fuels doesn't hold up. Turns out wind can be a replacement for other fuels. Meanwhile, the wind turbine industry has matured rapidly to the point where it can be a replacement.

And the real kicker: Tudor Pickering & Holt, a Houston investment bank, contends that the natural gas used to power electric plants could fall by 18.5 percent by 2013 as plants sit idle.

So what's this scrum about?

Government subsidies in a nutshell. The wind industry argues that it can't make payments when it fails to deliver the power promised. Other energy producers pay those fees. It's an interesting argument since wind can be fickle.

Texas is just leading the wind parade with 9,400 megawatts of wind-power generation capacity. These battles over wind power will start popping up elsewhere too.

Here's a look at a few key stats about wind power (2008 data) from the American Wind Energy Association. The stats show where the wind vs. fossil fuel battle will play out next.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure