WebQuest

Alternative Energy

Teacher Page

Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 1
TEACHER OVERVIEW No. 22
REQUIRED MATERIALS
„ copy of Reading Passage and Student Data Sheets
for each student
„ an equipment kit for each Lab Activity group
consisting of:
• computer with Internet access and presentation
software
• list of relevant web sites
• research materials, journals, data (such as found
in World Watch, newspapers, energy companies,
and organizations)
„ an equipment kit for each Follow Up Lab Activity
group consisting of:
• access to Texas geothermal map on the Internet
• Texas highway map
• marker
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
All sources of energy have advantages and
disadvantages, which can make for interesting
comparisons. Advantages to using renewable energy
sources include convenience, low or no cost for fuel,
little or no environmental impact, sustainability,
independence from reliance on other nations or regions
for fuel, no dangerous end products to clean up as a
major expense, safety factors, and reduced pollutant
emissions. Disadvantages of some non-renewable
energy sources include unstable cost, transportation of
raw materials and fuel, inconvenience, utilization of
public water for production, pollution, limited supplies
of fuel, non-sustainability, high cost of disposal of
residues, dependence on foreign nations or other
regions for fuel, climate change resulting in extreme
Renewable Energy
and Electric Utilities
OVERVIEW
Students will discover the great potential for using
renewable energy resources and compare utility
residential rates in Texas. The growing use of renewable
energy in Texas will encourage student interest.
Students will conduct research on the Internet and
make presentations regarding their findings, using
technology to prepare their audiovisual materials.
OBJECTIVES
See High School Teacher Resource Guide for TEKS
objectives and additional information regarding this
and other high school units.
SUGGESTED TIMEFRAME
Teacher will need to determine how many class periods
to devote to each activity, based on the suggested
timeframe and length of classes.
Time Activity Description
Content
Area
30 minutes 1 – Introduction and
Reading Passage
Science
Vocabulary
Reading
120 minutes
spread over
four or five
periods
2 – Internet Activity –
Researching Renewable
Energy
3 – Group Presentations
and Discussion
Science
Vocabulary
Reading
30 minutes 4 – Assessment Science
Reading
60 minutes 5 – Follow Up Activity –
Geothermal Energy
Science
Mathematics
Vocabulary
For High School
UNIT OF STUDY NO. 22
2 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
TEACHER OVERVIEW
weather patterns, decrease in agricultural productivity,
possible sea level rise, and species loss. Electric
generators and electricity providers consider all these
impacts and more when developing new power plants
or buying energy for their customers.
Largely due to the deregulation of the electric industry
in Texas, many Texans have the option to buy
electricity that has been generated by renewable energy
sources. For example, electric customers in one Texas
town can purchase energy that comes from renewable
energy sources. While the fuel charge of this “green”
electricity is a bit more expensive (3.30 cents per
kilowatt-hour instead of the standard charge of 2.796
cents per kilowatt-hour) the rate is guaranteed through
2013. The green power comes from 61 wind turbines
located in west Texas and from a landfill biogas project
located near San Antonio.
Texas has vast stores of potential alternative energy
resources, but currently only a fraction of Texas
electricity comes from renewable sources.
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES
Teachers should read through the entire sequence of
student activities first. Students should review the
Reading Passage, “Renewable Energy and Electric
Utilities,” before starting their research project.
Activity 1 – Introduction and Reading Passage
Explain to the class the topic that will be covered in
this unit of study. Teachers can include material from
the teacher background information section. Have
students consider the following quote:
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” –
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Patent Office, 1899
This obviously is not true. Have students consider what
drives the need to invent, what makes a good invention,
and how this relates to our current energy needs in
replacing fossil fuels with renewable, cleaner energy.
Each student will need a copy of the Reading Passage
and the Student Data Sheets (includes reading
comprehension questions and vocabulary words).
Instruct students to study the Reading Passage and
complete the Student Data Sheet to help them
understand the marketing and availability of sources
of renewable energy. Key vocabulary words in the
Reading Passage will assist students in understanding
the Lab Activity instructions.
Activity 2 – Internet Activity – Researching
Renewable Energy
Review the Internet Activity section of the Student
Data Sheets with the class. So that students will have a
clear understanding of what is expected of them during
this internet activity, a rubric is included in the Student
Data Sheets that should be distributed to and reviewed
with the class before they begin the activity. Research
tells us that students perform better, learn more when
they know what is expected from them, and find the
tasks more manageable. Students will research from a
variety of sources, including the Internet, to review the
current status of electricity production in Texas. They
will review the current fuels being used to generate
electricity and the potential in their futures for using
renewable energy sources. Students can research the
forms of energy most feasible for Texas in the future.
The web site addresses suggested in the activity are just
a few possibilities for students to begin their searches.
There are many links from these sites and additional
places to research. Instructions on the use of search
engines should also be shared.
Divide the class into small groups and assign each
group a different renewable energy resource to research,
such as solar energy (passive and/or active), wind
energy, biomass, geothermal energy, hydroelectric
power and building (construction) climatology. Each
group can plan a division of labor.
Activity 3 – Group Presentations and
Discussion
1. Ask students to consider the following points while
creating their presentations:
• oral presentations will be a product of student
research with tables and graphs to be used
during the presentation
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 3
TEACHER OVERVIEW
• the class audience should be kept in mind, so
the most important concepts are presented
without lengthy details;
• the materials used and produced by each group
for their presentation (i.e. their notes, outlines,
summaries, transparencies, etc) should be
turned in after the presentation. Students could
use a presentation software application, such as
Microsoft Power Point, to make transparencies
or to use directly in the presentation if an LCD
projector is available.
2. Instruct the groups to give their presentations
allowing each student an opportunity to present a
topic.
3. Group Discussion
After all groups have completed their presentations,
a discussion of what was learned could involve
questions such as what are:
a) the safest energy sources? (Discussion can include
a definition of “safest,” including worker safety
and chances of a catastrophic failure of the energy
source.)
b) the most efficient energy sources? (Discussion
should include a definition of “efficiency,”
including relative cost.)
c) the most environmentally benign sources?
(Make sure students support their assertions with
scientific and engineering information, not just
opinion.)
d) the most economical sources? (This will depend
on the geographic area. The cost of renewable
energy is expected to decrease over the next 10
years and may soon become competitive. However,
if the environmental cost of non-renewable energy
consumption is included in the calculation,
renewable energy may already be cheaper.)
e) the most abundant sources in the surrounding
geographical area? (Answers will vary. In Texas,
wind energy is abundant in the high plains and
the far west. Solar energy is widely available, but
more available toward the western part of the
State.)
“Jigsaw” Method for Research and Group
Presentations
An alternative way to organize the student research and
presentation groups is known as “jigsaw.” First students
are assigned to a Peer Group for the unit consisting of
4 or 5 students. Each student from each Peer Group
is assigned a different renewable energy resource to
research. After doing some individual, initial research, all
students regroup according their research topics (solar,
wind, biomass, etc.) and form a Research Topic Group.
Each Research Topic Group develops a presentation of
that topic, complete with assessment instruments and
questions that follow the presentation. Students then go
back to their Peer Groups, and each student, who is now
an “expert” in his or her subject area, presents the research
to the group. Students should develop assessment criteria
by which they will complete a peer evaluation for each
student’s presentation. By teaching each other, research
tells us that students learn much more than just passively
listening. Also, having a peer evaluation instills a sense of
accountability in each student for the quality of his or her
research and presentation.
Activity 4 – Assessment
Distribute a copy of the Assessment Questions to each
student. Instruct each student to work alone and answer
the short answer and multiple-choice questions. Collect
the handouts, grade and return them to the students.
Activity 5 – Follow Up Activity
The Follow Up Activity involves researching Texas’
potential for geothermal energy, creating a map of the
location of these resources and proposing a geothermal
power plant for your community. Review the Follow
Up Activity section of the Student Data Sheets with
the class. Students should work with their original Lab
Activity group.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITY
Resource List
Students can compile library resources for future use to
include the following: videotapes, journals, magazines,
newspapers, and books. This list can assist the librarian
in ordering new materials.
4 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
No. 22 TEACHER OVERVIEW
HIGHLIGHTS
• The Texas electric industry is
changing
• Texas is becoming a leader in
renewable energy development
• Customers now have electric
provider choices
INTRODUCTION
Due to a set of laws and rules changing
how power is bought and sold in Texas,
we now have a system of competitive and
choice-driven electric companies, much
like telephone service, in which you can
choose and change your supplier. Texas
law required big, publicly owned electric
utilities, such as those in Dallas and
Houston, to open their markets in 2002.
Rural electric cooperatives and municipal
utilities, such as those owned by Austin
and San Antonio, were not required to
open their market base to competition,
but may choose to do so in the future.
The outcome is more choices for more
customers, including the ability to choose
energy generated from the state’s clean,
renewable energy resources like wind,
solar and biomass power.
NEW RULES CATAPULT
RENEWABLES
Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
The law that defined the new electric
structure for Texas requires that all electric
service providers sell a minimum amount
of renewable energy. The law requires that
Renewable Energy
and Electric Utilities
CLEAN, LOW COST ELECTRICITY FOR TEXAS Wind farms
similar to this one in the west Texas mountains near Van Horn
could become a major source of home-grown power in the future.
SOURCE: LLOYD HERZIGER
READING PASSAGE
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 5
No. 22
2,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewable
generating capacity be installed by 2009
and added to the 880 MW already in Texas
at the time the law was passed in 1999. This
concept is called a “Renewable Portfolio
Standard,” and while Texas was only the 6th
state to adopt such a rule, its RPS is shaping
up to be the most effective one to date.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
The cornerstone of the new Texas rules
is the ingenious yet simple creation of a
tradable certificate called a Renewable
Energy Credit. Renewable energy
generation projects certified in the state
create one (1) REC per megawatt hour
(MWh) of electricity produced.
On an annual basis, every Retail Electric
Provider (REP) selling electricity in the
competitive areas of the state must show
that it has purchased its share of the
required renewable energy generation.
That share will be determined by prorating
the required benchmarks for renewable
energy generating capacity based on the
company’s share of the electricity market.
The REP will prove it is meeting its MW
capacity benchmarks by the number of
RECs it possesses.
The demand for RECs will result in the
building of new renewable energy projects,
thereby displacing electricity that would
otherwise be generated from traditional
resources. The kilowatt hour (kWh) of
renewable electricity is not tied to the REC.
Each may be sold separately. Claims of
renewable energy use in Texas will depend
Baseline Capacity when law passed, 1999 880 MW
New Capacity Targets:
Deadline Increment Cum. Total
By 2003 400 MW 1,280 MW
By 2005 450 MW 1,730 MW
By 2007 550 MW 2,280 MW
By 2009 600 MW 2,880 MW
PROJECTED INCREASES IN NEW RENEWABLE ENERGY POWER PLANTS THROUGH 2009
The Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard provides targets for installing new renewable power
plants that will increase the state’s total renewable generating capacity from 800 MW in 1999 to
2,880 MW by 2009.
READING PASSAGE
6 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
No. 22
solely on ownership of RECs and not where
the commodity energy flows.
This market-based system has been
extraordinary in stimulating the Texas
renewable energy market. During 2001
as much renewable energy generating
capacity came on-line in the state as
during the previous 100 years. That is
quite a success story! And because of
the large volume of new construction,
renewable energy has become more
affordable, leading to more opportunities
for customers wanting cleaner electricity.
RENEWABLES FOR ELECTRIC
CONSUMERS
It is important to understand just what
energy resources are included in any
“Green Power” product offered by an
electricity marketer. In Texas, only a
reference to the term “renewable energy”
in such marketing is a reference to those
resources clearly defined as renewable
in the electric utility restructuring law.
This would include electricity generated
from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal
and hydro resources, and clearly excludes
any fossil-based resources. Other power
products using Texas natural gas resources
can still be marketed as “green” due to
the low emissions associated with natural
gas power plants.
Some companies specialize in selling
100% renewable power with reliability
that is identical to what customers are
What to look for in the
electricity you buy:
All retail electric providers are
required to disclose certain
information enabling customers
to make educated decisions
about choosing among competing
offers. Here are some important
characteristics to consider:
1. Types of renewables
2. Content of new renewable
energy
3. Emissions impact
4. Other factors important to you,
such as fixed price, company
contributions to environmental
causes, use of union labor, etc.
used to. Others offer power with various
percentages of renewable energy. In
some cases they offer renewable power
contracts at fixed rates, while rates for
conventional electricity rise and fall with
fossil fuel prices.
It is exciting that Texas has become
the nation’s best wholesale market
for renewable energy, and it will be
interesting to see how Texas customers
continue to respond at the retail level for
cleaner electricity.
READING PASSAGE
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 7
No. 22
Understanding the Reading Passage
Based on the information from the Reading Passage, answer the following questions:
1. What change made it possible for consumers to purchase renewable energy directly?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
2. Which electric utilities were required to open their markets to competition?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
3. By what amount is renewable energy capacity expected to increase between 1999 and 2009? _____________
What is the percentage increase? _____________
Vocabulary
Based on the Reading Passage, write down your understanding of these words or word pairs and verify your
definitions in a dictionary, on the Internet if available or with your teacher:
biomass ________________________________________________________________________________
green pricing ____________________________________________________________________________
prorate ________________________________________________________________________________
public utility ____________________________________________________________________________
renewable energy _________________________________________________________________________
solar energy _____________________________________________________________________________
wind energy ____________________________________________________________________________
STUDENT DATA SHEET
8 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
No. 22
Rubrics for Research Presentation
Name: ______________________________ Teacher: ____________________________
Date of Presentation: ___________________ Title of Work: ________________________
Criteria Points
1 2 3 4
Organization
Audience cannot
understand
presentation
because there is
no sequence of
information.
Audience
has difficulty
following
presentation
because student
jumps around.
Student presents
information in
logical sequence
which audience
can follow.
Student presents
information in
logical, interesting
sequence which
audience can
follow.
____
Content
Knowledge
Student does
not have grasp
of information;
student cannot
answer questions
about subject.
Student is
uncomfortable
with information
and is able to
answer only
rudimentary
questions.
Student is at ease
with content, but
fails to elaborate.
Student
demonstrates full
knowledge (more
than required)
with explanations
and elaboration.
____
Visuals Student uses no
visuals.
Student
occasional uses
visuals that rarely
support text and
presentation.
Visuals relate
to text and
presentation.
Student uses
visuals to
reinforce
screen text and
presentation.
____
Delivery
Student mumbles,
incorrectly
pronounces
terms, and speaks
too quietly for
students in the
back of class to
hear.
Student
incorrectly
pronounces
terms. Audience
members have
difficulty hearing
presentation.
Student’s voice
is clear. Student
pronounces most
words correctly.
Student used a
clear voice and
correct, precise
pronunciation of
terms.
____
Total —> ____
STUDENT DATA SHEET
INSTRUMENT ADAPTED FROM WWW.TEACH-NOLOGY.COM
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 9
No. 22
Internet Activity – Researching
Renewables
Introduction
The purpose of this activity is to gain an
understanding about renewable energy in Texas
and its feasibility.
Before You Start
Review the vocabulary words from the Reading
Passage. Ask your teacher if you are unsure of any
of the meanings.
Materials
• computer with Internet access and presentation
software
• list of relevant web sites
• research materials, journals, data (such as
found in World Watch, newspapers, energy
companies, and organizations)
Preparation
The teacher will direct your groups as to how the
topic for research will be chosen and the work
distributed among individuals.
Performing the Activity
Your group should collect data on the current
status of your renewable energy source, the benefits
and disadvantages for its use, global impact and
other topics of your choice. Determine who will be
responsible for each research topic.
STUDENT DATA SHEET
Your group should consider at least these points
while researching your topic:
• How much energy does the assigned energy
source currently produce in Texas, compared to
its future potential production?
• How important is this source likely to become?
• What are the assigned energy source’s
advantages and disadvantages?
• What position would the local electric
company take regarding this source in your
opinion?
• Is the source constant and reliable?
• Will the technology be improved over the next
15 years?
• Is the resource affordable?
• How does this energy affect the environment
(greenhouse gases, land, water)?
Points that your group should consider while
creating your presentations are:
• Your presentation will be a product of your
research. Include tables and graphs to illustrate
information you have gathered.
• Consider your class, which is the audience. The
most important concepts should be presented
without lengthy details.
• The materials your group uses and produces
for the presentation (i.e. notes, outlines,
summaries, transparencies, etc) should be
turned in after the presentation.
There are many printed information sources, as
well as Internet sites to utilize.
10 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
No. 22
WEB SITES
STUDENT DATA SHEET
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
www.nrel.gov
The National Hydropower Association
www.hydro.org
North Carolina Solar Center
www.ncsc.ncsu.edu
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
www.nesea.org
Renewable Energy: The Infinite Power of Texas
www.infinitepower.org
Renewable Energy Policy Project
www.repp.org
Solar Energy Industries Association
www.seia.org
Texas Solar Energy Society
www.txses.org
Union of Concerned Scientists
www.ucsusa.org
US Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and
Renewable Energy
www.eere.energy.gov
U.S. Department of Energy, Bioenergy
bioenergy.ornl.gov
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
www.epa.gov
Worldwatch
www.worldwatch.org
Alliance to Save Energy
www.ase.org
American Council for an Energy Efficient
Economy
www.aceee.org
American Electric Power
www.aep.com
American Solar Energy Society
www.ases.org
American Wind Energy Association
www.awea.org
Arizona Solar Center
www.azsolarcenter.com
Center for the Analysis and Dissemination of
Demonstrated Energy Technologies
www.caddet-re.org
Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable
Technology and the Renewable Energy Policy
Project
http://solstice.crest.org
El Paso Solar Energy Association
www.epsea.org
Florida Solar Energy Center
www.fsec.ucf.edu
Integrated Waste Services Associates
www.wte.org
Midwest Renewable Energy Association
www.the-mrea.org
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 11
No. 22
ADDRESSES & PHONE NUMBERS
American Solar Energy Society
2400 Central Ave G-1
Boulder, Colorado 80301
(303) 443-3130
American Wind Energy
122 C. Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 383-2505
Austin Energy
721 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78704
(512) 322-6300
El Paso Solar Energy Association
P.O. Box 25384
El Paso, Texas 79926
(915) 772-7657 (SOLR)
Public Utility Commission of Texas
1701 N. Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 936-7120
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
1617 Cole Blvd.
Golden, Colorado 80401-3393
(303) 275-3000
Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association
P.O. Box 16469
Austin, Texas 78761
(512) 345-5446
Texas Solar Energy Society
P.O. Box 1447
Austin, Texas 78767-1447
(512) 326-3391
STUDENT DATA SHEET
12 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
No. 22
Assessment Questions
1. What have the new rules described in the Reading Passage done for renewable energy in Texas?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
2. Describe a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) in your own words.
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
3. What is “Green Power” and what are eligible resources in Texas?
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________________
Multiple Choice Questions
STUDENT DATA SHEET
1. Consumers want their energy sources to be:
a) clean
b) renewable
c) affordable
d) all answers a, b, and c
2. The rules governing electricity suppliers in Texas
mean that:
a) consumers in rural cooperatives and municipal
utility territories can now choose their electric
supplier.
b) consumers in publicly owned utility territories
can now choose their electric supplier.
c) consumers in publicly owned utility territories
can not choose renewable energy sources of
electric power.
d) consumers in rural cooperatives and municipal
utility territories will never be able to choose
their electric supplier.
3. Green pricing means:
a) paying extra money to use renewables
b) cost of trees
c) prices in east Texas
d) none of the answers
4. Renewable energy resources include:
a) wind energy
b) solar energy
c) biomass
d) all answers a, b, and c
5. Regarding renewable energies:
a) you would strongly support their use
b) they are of little importance
c) they are important to the future
d) a and c
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 13
No. 22
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY – GEOTHERMAL ENERGY
Introduction
Solar is not the only source of renewable
energy on Earth. The hot rocks beneath the
surface of Earth can also supply energy. The
word “geothermal” comes from Greek words
for Earth and heat. Geothermal energy is
used in Italy and New Zealand. Because of
its unique location right on the Midatlantic
Ridge, Iceland has been able to develop
geothermal energy production to provide
nearly 50% its energy needs.
There is some evidence that Native Americans
used hot springs in the Big Bend area of west
Texas to bathe and to cook food. However,
geothermal energy in Texas has much broader
potential.
Earth’s core is very hot, around 6000 K. Heat
from the deep core slowly moves toward Earth’s
surface. In some places, this thermal energy
appears as volcanoes, hot springs or geysers.
The only places where hot springs could
provide sufficient steam to generate electricity
are in Yellowstone National Park and in parts
of California. Yellowstone National Park is
protected, but some geothermal development
has taken place in California.
Almost all power plants use steam to generate
electricity. The high-pressure steam rotates
a turbine that is connected to an electrical
generator. The steam can come from water
heated by burning fossil fuels, from water
heated by nuclear energy, or from steam from
geothermal sources. There are three types of
geothermal power plants: dry steam, flash
steam, and binary cycle.
Dry steam power plants draw steam directly
from underground resources. The steam is piped
directly to the power plant, where it turns a
turbine. The only dry steam reservoirs are in
northern California and under Yellowstone
National Park in Wyoming. Thus California has
the only dry steam plants in the United States.
Flash steam power plants are more common.
They pipe water from deep wells with
temperatures greater than 360°F (182°C). The
water flows under its own pressure. At this
temperature, water flashes instantly to steam
at atmospheric pressure. The steam is then
separated from the water and used to power a
turbine connected to a generator. After running
the turbine, the condensed steam is mixed back
with the water and both are pumped back into
the ground to replenish the reservoir.
Binary cycle power plants use even lower
temperature water of about 225°–360°F
(107°–182°C). The thermal energy from this
water is used to boil another fluid with a lower
boiling point in a heat exchanger. (Thus there
are two separate fluid cycles, hence binary
cycle.) The hot vapor from the working fluid
turns a turbine. The water is then injected
back into the ground to be reheated and the
working fluid condenses and is recycled.
Small-scale geothermal power plants (under 5
megawatts) have the potential for widespread
application in rural areas, possibly even as
distributed energy resources. Distributed energy
STUDENT DATA SHEET
14 – RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES Unit of Study No. 22
No. 22 STUDENT DATA SHEET
resources refer to a variety of small, modular
power-generating technologies that can be
combined to improve the operation of the
electricity delivery system.
Materials
• Texas geothermal map on the Internet
• Texas highway map
• marker
Step I. Evaluating Geothermal Potential
1. Examine the Texas geothermal map found at
www.infinitepower.org/resgeothermal.htm
2. Locate your community on the Texas
highway map.
3. Locate your community on the Texas
geothermal map.
4. Determine the temperature of water
available in the geothermal reservoir under
your community.
Step II. Choosing a Geothermal Power Plant
1. Based on the information in the
introduction, decide which kind of
geothermal power plant, if any, might be
suitable for your community.
2. In some areas of Texas, insufficient hot water
is available to harvest energy from hot water.
Investigate other geothermal applications,
such as radiant heat for buildings.
Data Analysis
1. What is the temperature of the geothermal reservoir in your community? _______________
2. If any, which of the three types of geothermal power plants is suitable for your community?
________________________________________________________________________
3. Are there any other ways in which your community could exploit geothermal energy besides
electric power generation?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Unit of Study No. 22 RENEWABLE ENERGY AND ELECTRIC UTILITIES – 15
Understanding the Reading Passage
1. Deregulation of the electric utility industry and
passage of the Renewable Portfolio Standard
2. Publicly owned utilities were required to open
their markets. Rural co-ops and municipally owned
utilities may choose to participate or not.
3. Capacity is expected to increase by 2000 MW,
which is a percentage increase of 227%.
Assessment Questions
1. The new rules have stimulated the Texas renewable
energy market. During 2001 as much renewable
energy generating capacity came on-line in the
state as during the previous 100 years. Renewable
energy has become more affordable, leading to
more opportunities for customers wanting cleaner
electricity.
2. Students answers should contain the following
information: a REC is a tradable certificate where
one (1) REC is the equivalent megawatt hour
(MWh) of electricity produced by a source of
renewable energy. Retail electric providers in Texas
are required to have a certain number of RECs in
their portfolio, so the establishment of RECs is a
TEACHER ANSWER KEY
way to encourage more renewable energy power
plants to be developed in Texas.
3. Green power describes electricity produced by sources
that are less harmful to the environment than fossil
fuels. Eligible sources in Texas include: solar, wind,
biomass, geothermal, and hydro resources. Natural
gas resources can still be marketed as “green” due to
the low emissions associated with natural gas power
plants, but are not considered renewable energy.
Multiple Choice Questions
1 d; 2 b; 3 a; 4 d; 5 d (best answer)
Follow Up Lab Data Analysis
1. Answers will vary but should be between 90 and
160 °C.
2. In most areas of Texas, the temperature of the
water is too low to generate electricity. Binary
cycle power plants might be marginally feasible
in a few communities. Along Texas’s Gulf Coast,
deep reservoirs are available, but drilling into these
reservoirs is impractical.
3. Using heat exchangers for space heating remains a
useful application.
Vocabulary Definitions
biomass – plant and animal materials (wood, hay, vegetable residues, etc.) which have chemical energy
stored in their organic molecules
green pricing – a program offered by some utilities to charge money above the standard fee, to customers
who agree, in order to promote using renewable energies
prorate – divide or asses in proportionate parts of the whole
public utility – a service, as electricity or water, essential to the community; a company providing such a
service, controlled by a nationalized or private monopoly and subject to public regulation
renewable energy – forms of energy that derive and quickly replenish from the natural movements and
mechanisms of the environment, such as sunshine, wind, movement of the seas and the heat of the earth
solar energy – energy radiated from the sun used directly (solar thermal, passive solar and photovoltaic) or
indirectly
wind energy – air in motion; kinetic energy related to the motion of the atmosphere; air heated by the sun
when rising replaced by cold air
InfinitePower.org
Financial Acknowledgement This publication was developed as
part of the Renewable Energy Demonstration Program and was
funded 100% with oil overcharge funds from the Exxon settlement
as provided by the Texas State Energy Conservation Office and the
U.S. Department of Energy. Mention of trade names or commercial
products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.
State Energy Conservation Office
111 East 17th Street, Room 1114
Austin, Texas 78774
Ph. 800.531.5441 ext 31796
www.InfinitePower.org
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Publication #96-824B (03/05)

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