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  • Texas Just Builds

    Posted by Shannon Love on April 21st, 2009 (All posts by )

    From a Max Schulz article on California’s failing environmental and energy polices:

    And Texas, of all places, has outpaced California as America’s leader in wind-power generation. High costs, excessive regulation, and litigation from environmental groups on how to limit bird deaths have all hampered California’s effort; Texas has just built lots of wind turbines.

    We just build things in Texas. Wind turbines, solar power plants, off-shore turbines, coal-powered plants, transmission lines, pipelines of all sorts, you name it and we just build it with apparently only a tenth as much gnashing of teeth as places like California. 

    California and other blue states are succumbing to a deadly economic paralysis brought on by an ideological hostility to material productivity. This ideology views as immoral those who create food, clothing, shelter, medical care, transportation and all the other necessities and luxuries of modern life. Instead they venerate those who just talk. Turns out, however, that talking doesn’t pay the bills. Somebody has to make something for a region to have a vibrant and stable economy.

    California has systematically driven all manufacturing, even computer manufacturing, out of the state. Now the state seems to rely on movie making, software and pornography. Texas by contrast is building like crazym and doing so without side-effects like real estate bubbles and exploding taxation.

    Over the next 20 years, Texas is going to be the place were things get done in America, even if those things are silly like solar and wind power. California is on track to be the next Michigan, and L.A. the next Detroit.  Texas, at the very least, will be able to keep the lights on. 

     

    5 Responses to “Texas Just Builds”

    1. Carl from Chicago Says:

      Texas has some advantages in terms of regulation. The Texas grid (except for El Paso, which is almost really more part of New Mexico) is isolated from the rest of the country. That means that if you have cheap power in Texas, it won’t be sent off to other parts of the country, you can take advantage of it at home.

      Texas also has a long history of lighter regulation on the oil and gas industry, which helps it to treat utility investment favorably. To wit, you can’t dig for oil OR build capacity for power OR build anything else in California.

      Unfortunately a lot of your advantages are going to be lost because the big, pretty well run TXU (Texas Utilities in the old days) out of Dallas went private and loaded up with tons and tons of debt. Those private equity boys only care 100% for profit (and paying dividends to THEMSELVES) so they are highly unlikely to build much of anything anymore because it is almost always better from a cash flow perspective to harvest than to build new in the utility industry.

      There are other utilities in Texas and they will still move forward a bit but taking TXU private is going to significantly dent new investment in generation in the state. Unless you take away all copies of MS Excel from them…

    2. Shannon Love Says:

      Carl From Chicago,

      Texas is currently trying to get the feds to let us build IIRC 26 coal fired plants. So, I think its safe to say that on the whole the utilities in the state are willing and able to build.

    3. onparkstreet Says:

      Years ago, I had a chance to interview at a hospital in Texas for a job, but I chose to go to Boston, instead.

      Lately, I’ve been thinking I might have been happier if I had gone to Texas (I actually like chitown, even though I abhor the corruption. The people, though, are really nice).

    4. Carl from Chicago Says:

      Ha – you want to take the over / under on how many of those coal plants will get built, in say, the next decade? My guess would be 3, and that is optimistic (for me).

      I am pro-coal and pro-nuclear I just know from being on the ground how hard it is to do anything nowadays.

      With the current financing difficulties and drop in demand growth I think building will mostly (stay) grounded for coal and nuclear.

    5. Brett_McS Says:

      “…how hard it is to do anything nowadays”.

      Exactly. The next significant upswing (assuming there is one) is going to be choked off. Unless we reinstitute the grand old tradition of ‘tar and feathers’, as Instapundit likes to say.