Renewable Energy Boom In The Lone Star State

The population of the Lone Star State, Texas is approximately 29.47 million people[1]. In April 2020, state utilities used natural gas (49.4%), renewable energy (26.1%), coal (16.5%), and nuclear (8.0%) to generate electricity[2]. Wind, solar, biomass and hydropower are the primary sources of renewable energy in Texas.

Texas’ reliance on inexpensive natural gas and renewable energy offset the high cost of coal and nuclear power to keep electricity prices below the national average. In April 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in Texas was 12.34 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.28 ¢ per kWh.

In 2005, the Texas Public Utility Commission amended the state’s Renewable Energy Standard (RPS) to require that 5,880 MW of the state’s electricity generating capacity come from renewable sources by 2015 and 10,000 MW of renewables by 2025. The 2015 renewable resources goal of 5,880 MW, represented approximately 5% of the state’s total electricity requirements in 2005.

Texas surpassed the 2025 goal of 10,000 MW of the state’s electricity generating capacity from renewable sources in 2009! The state leads the nation in the total number of wind turbines. In 2019, Texas’ total power capacity from wind turbines was over 24,200 MW[3].

Texas is the only state with a stand-alone electricity grid, which is operated the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT has encouraged the development of new renewable energy projects by authorizing construction of transmission lines to bring electricity from rural areas to major metropolitan centers.

Texas’ progressive energy policies are encouraging the continued development of new renewable energy and energy storage projects, including:

  • 160 MW Wind Farm – In March 2020, ENGIE, a French multinational utility commenced operation on the Jumbo Hill Wind project, which is located approximately 350 miles west of the city of Dallas.
  • 81 MW Solar Park – Belltown Power, a Texas solar photovoltaic developer has begun construction on the Rippey Solar project, which is located approximately 80 miles northwest of the city of Dallas. The solar project is scheduled to begin operation by December 2020.
  • 480 MW Wind Farm – Renewable Energy Systems and Algonquin Power & Utilities have begun construction on the Maverick Creek Wind project, which is located approximately 150 miles northwest of the state capital, Austin. The wind project is scheduled to commence operation by December 2020.
  • 500 MW Solar Park – ConnectGen, a Texas renewable developer has announced plans to build the Pecan Prairie Solar project, which is located approximately 100 miles north of the city of Houston. Construction on the solar project is scheduled to begin in 2021.

Texas has long been known for the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. A new energy boom of wind and solar energy has been occurring over the last fifteen years and there is no end in sight for the development of clean, green energy in the Lone Star State.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Worldpopulationreview.com

[2] U.S. Energy Information Agency, www.eia.gov

[3] U.S. Energy Information Agency, www.eia.gov

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