Page 4 - May-June 2012

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4
May/June 2012
Public Citizen News
By Carol Geiger
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ER-
COT), the state grid operator and manager of
the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind
record of 7,599 megawatts (MW) on April 11,
exceeding the record set the previous day by
almost 200 MW.
In the past year, Public Citizen has been
working as a member of ERCOT’s Wholesale
Market Subcommittee, representing consumer
interests in an effort to maximize the impact of
wind power installed and planned for Texas.
At the time of the record, wind was supply-
ing 22 percent of the 34,318 MW of energy be-
ing used in the state. This record was signifi-
cant because April 2012 was the third-warmest
April on record for Texas, with many parts of
the state already revving up air conditioners
and starting to put additional electric demands
on the state’s electric grid.
Coastal wind farms supplied 1,018 MW of
the new record, along with 6,581 MW from
the west and north areas of the state. ERCOT
currently has 9,838 MW of installed wind ca-
pacity — the highest of any state in the U.S. —
including 7,531 MW in the western part of the
state, 232 MW in the north and 2,075 MW in the
coastal region.
March is typically a high wind month for
Texas, but these new records also are due in
part to a new transmission analysis tool that
allows the grid operator to move more wind
energy from the state’s western zone and the
Gulf Coast.
The installed wind capacity that feeds into
the Texas grid increased in March by 9 MW
with the addition of Harbor Wind in Nueces
County.
More than 18,000 MW of wind generation
projects currently are under review, according
to ERCOT’s February system planning update.
Also, on March 27, Wind Energy Transmis-
sion Texas and Stephens Ranch Wind Energy
completed the first interconnection agreement
for a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone sub-
station — transmission lines that bring renew-
able energy to the rest of the Texas grid. The
interconnection point is the Long Draw Substa-
tion in Borden County. Stephens Ranch will
include 233 turbines for total of 377 MW sched-
uled to start operating in November 2013.
As new wind projects come online and trans-
mission lines to bring their electricity to the
grid are completed, we can expect to see more
wind energy records broken.
Public Citizen remains committed to this
country’s transition away from fossil fuels and
toward renewable forms of energy generation
that will truly provide energy independence
for communities in the U.S.
momentum with federal and
state lawmakers, as well as grass-
roots activists.
Already, legislatures in three
states — Hawaii, New Mexico and
Vermont — have approved reso-
lutions calling
for a constitu-
tional amend-
ment to over-
turn
Citizens
United
. Public
Citizen
and
allied organizations were key in
pushing through Vermont’s leg-
islation. The groups also have
worked with legislators to ad-
vance resolutions and similar
measures in California, Maryland
and Massachusetts. In each of
these states, passage of these res-
olutions is imminent and likely
to occur this spring. Seeing the
momentum, lawmakers in Alas-
ka, Iowa, Kansas, Rhode Island
and New York have followed suit
and introduced their own resolu-
tions. All in all, 25 states have in-
troduced resolutions calling for a
constitutional amendment.
“We will be successful in pass-
ing a constitutional amend-
ment because it is the will of the
people. From Alaska to Nevada,
Georgia to Maine, we are taking
our country back,” said Jonah
Minkoff-Zern, a senior organizer
with Public Citizen’s Democracy
Is For People campaign.
The next step in Public Citi-
zen’s campaign to overturn
Citi-
zens United
is to gather support
for a constitutional amendment
from city and town governments
across the country. Public Citi-
zen is organizing people around
the U.S., urging them to tell their
city or town council members to
back local resolutions calling for a
constitutional amendment. Pub-
lic Citizen is leading the charge
to have these resolutions passed
during
the
week of June
11,
dubbed
“Resolutions
Week.”
Public Citi-
zen and its partners are provid-
ing information to activists about
how to approach local council
members, how to get people in-
volved and how to publicize their
efforts. So far, more than 5,500
people in more than 1,000 towns
and cities in all 50 states have
pledged to push for local resolu-
tions calling for a constitution-
al amendment. Already, more
than 200 cities and towns have
passed resolutions. An average
of more than one resolution a day
has passed since Public Citizen
launched the Resolutions Week
effort at the beginning of March.
“Democracy in this country be-
gins in our communities and in
our states,” said Robert Weiss-
man, Public Citizen president.
“To build the groundswell of sup-
port necessary to advance consti-
tutional remedies to undo
Citi-
zens United
and related cases, we
have to start there, and through
Resolutions Week, that’s what
thousands will be doing this
spring.”
Partners in this initiative in-
clude People For the American
Way, U.S. PIRG, Move to Amend,
Common Cause, Corporate Ac-
countability International, Main
Street Alliance, Alliance for De-
mocracy, Bullfrog Films, Califor-
nia Church Impact, the Coffee
Party, Communication Workers
of America, Democracy Unlimit-
ed, Get the Dough Out and Story
of Stuff, as well as the congres-
sional offices of U.S. Sen. Bernie
Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Reps. Ted
Deutch (D-Fla.), Donna Edwards
(D-Md.) and Keith Ellison (D-
Minn.).
National momentum
Public Citizen also has been
working on the national level to
build support for a constitutional
amendment. (To propose a con-
stitutional amendment, it takes
either a two-thirds vote of both
chambers of Congress or a con-
stitutional convention convened
with the legislatures of two-
thirds of the states. Then it needs
to be ratified by three-quarters of
the states.)
In April, Public Citizen and its
partners worked with several
lawmakers to organize a congres-
sional summit on Capitol Hill
in support of a constitutional
amendment to overturn
Citizens
United
. In attendance were Sand-
ers, Deutch, Edwards and Elli-
son, as well as Sens. Tom Udall
(D-N.M.) and Charles Schumer
(D-N.Y.), and Rep. Jim McGovern
(D-Mass.) — all of whom have ei-
ther sponsored or co-sponsored
a version of the constitutional
amendment. Also in attendance
were Reps. John Conyers (D-
Mich.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), John
Sarbanes (D-Md.), Betty Sutton
(D-Ohio), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-
Texas), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.),
Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and David
Cicilline (D-R.I.). The lawmak-
ers pledged their support for a
people’s movement to overturn
Citizens United
.
The event also featured local
and state elected officials, nation-
al advocacy organizations and
activists. The summit showcased
a range of initiatives at the state
and local levels that are generat-
ing support for a constitutional
amendment to overturn
Citizens
United
, including Public Citizen’s
Democracy Is For People cam-
paign and the Resolutions Week
effort that it initiated.
“The summit shows that a
movement for a constitutional
amendment to take back our
democracy has gone from be-
ing considered a ‘pipe dream’
to the mainstream,” Weissman
said. “The momentum generat-
ed at the local and state levels is
building fast. We hope the com-
mitments made there spur even
greater action from other mem-
bers of Congress.”
Resolutions
Week
For more information about Public Citizen’s
Democracy Is For People campaign and Resolutions
Week, visit www.DemocracyIsForPeople.org.
Resolutions
, from page 1
Public Citizen Organizes to Overturn
Citizens United
Texas Wind Power Reaches Record in April