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Wind Power Capacity Expands To More Than 20,000 Megawatts In Texas, Surpassing Coal

Gabriel Cristover Perez
KUT News

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Wind power’s growing in Texas; Fort Worth is the latest Texas city grappling with pension woes; banned books in Texas prisons; and more.

Wind power capacity has moved past coal in Texas.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees 90 percent of the state's grid, says that the start of commercial operations at a 155-megawatt wind farm in West Texas this month pushed the state's wind power capacity to more than 20,000 megawatts. That surpasses the 19,800 megawatts of capacity from coal-fired power plants, according to The Associated Press.

Several coal plants are on their way out. The state's largest power generator, Dallas-based Vistra Energy, plans to shutter three plants: Monticello in northeast Texas, Sandow near Austin and Big Brown east of Waco, according to the Houston Chronicle.  

While ERCOT still gets most of its power from natural gas and coal, wind power generation now accounts for 15 percent of the power mix — up from just 2 percent a decade ago, AP reports.

Joshua Rhodes of the University of Texas' Energy Institute in Austin says he expects the state's wind farms to generate more power than its coal mines by 2019. Read a Q&A with him in the Chronicle.

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  • Harvey’s wake: More than 50 daycares closed after Hurricane Harvey tore through South Texas and the Coast. Now, parents, already trying to get back home and back to work, are struggling to find a safe place to leave their kids. [The Texas Tribune]

  • Pension problems: Fort Worth has been nursing a pension crisis for years. The city’s fund is on the hook for about $1.6 billion more than it’s expected to be able to pay. Now, city officials are working to find solutions. [KERA News]

  • Switching gears: Arlington used to be the largest city in the U.S. without mass transit. Now, it will be the first to run solely on microtransit with the help of Via, a New York-based startup that offers on-demand minibus rides. [CityLab]

  • Banned books: More than 10,000 books aren’t allowed in Texas prisons, including “The Color Purple” and “Freakonomics.” But Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and two books by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke are approved [The Dallas Morning News]

The High Five is KERA’s daily roundup of stories from Dallas-Fort Worth and across the state. Explore our archives here. And sign up for our weekly email for the North Texas news you need to know.