Texas Mulls In-Kind Power Generation
Texas Land Commissioner David Dewhurst last week presented a
plan to a special senate committee on electric utility
restructuring that would allow the land commissioner to convert the
state's oil and gas earned from public lands into electricity and
sell it to Texas schools, state agencies, and local governments.
"The money the state makes from its public lands is
constitutionally dedicated to education," Dewhurst said. "This plan
could reduce the operating costs of some of our schools and
government agencies - and at the same time increase the earnings
for our school funds by 30%." Dewhurst said in-kind royalty
payments raised almost $140 million for the state's Permanent
School Fund and Permanent University Fund in 1998. He said his plan
could dramatically increase that amount.
Dewhurst's plan is not the first time the idea has been
suggested. Previous land commissioner Gary Mauro also suggested the
idea, and former lieutenant governor Bob Bullock made the
suggestion several years ago.
If Dewhurst's plan were adopted, Texas would ship gas and oil
from state-owned lands to independent power producer plants where
the fuel would be converted to power. The plan would allow the
state to generate power at a below-market price and sell it to
schools and state agencies below what they currently pay. Texas has
accepted in-kind royalty payments for its share of oil and gas
production from state lands since 1973.
Joe Fisher, Houston
©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights
reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or
redistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent of
Intelligence Press, Inc.