Forget Black Gold, Renewable Energy Is Booming In The Lone Star State!

State Economy

The population of the “Lone Star State, Texas is approximately 29.95 million people[1]. Texas is the 2nd  most populated state in the United States.

In 2021, Texas’ economy was ranked 2nd in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on advanced manufacturing, aerospace, aviation, defense, biotechnology, oil, natural gas, information technology, and  petrochemical industries[3].

Environment Policies

In 1999, Texas enacted a Renewable Generation Requirement,[4] mandating that all state utilities install a total renewable energy capacity of 5,880 MW by 2015.

In 2005, Texas amended the state’s Renewable Generation Requirement, mandating that all state utilities install a total renewable energy capacity of 10,000 MW by 2025.

In 2019, Texas’ utilities surpassed the 2005 Renewable Generation Requirement of 10,000 MW!

In 2021, Texas had a total renewable energy capacity from just wind and solar of over 35,000 MW[5]!

In April 2022, utilities[6] used natural gas (38.2 % ), renewable energy (37.9 % ), coal (15.9 % ), and nuclear energy ( 8.0 % ) to generate electricity in Texas. Wind and solar are the primary types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Texas.

In April 2022, the average cost of residential electricity in Texas was 13.08 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 14.77 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Texas include:

  • 500 MW Solar Project – Texas renewable energy company, ConnectGen is continuing work on the Pecan Prairie Solar project at a site approximately 100 miles north of the city of Houston. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • 500 MW Solar Project – In December 2021, California renewable energy company, Rosendin Electric commissioned the Aktina Renewable Power Project at a site approximately 25 miles southwest of Houston.
  • 284 MW Solar + 81 MW Storage ProjectIn December 20221, Italian energy company, Enel commissioned the Azure Sky solar plus storage project at a site approximately 120 miles west of the city of Dallas.
  • 270 MW Solar Project – In January 2022, Missouri engineering company Black & Veatch commenced work on the Parker solar project at a site approximately 75 miles south of Dallas. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 260 MW Solar Project – Missouri renewable energy company Savion is continuing work on the Brazoria West Solar Project at a site approximately 40 miles south of Houston. The project is forecast to be commissioned by October 2022.
  • 250 MW Solar Project – In March 2021, Texas solar company 7X Energy commissioned the Taygete I Energy Project at a site approximately 300 miles west of the state capital, Austin.
  • 250 MW Solar Project – North Carolina utility, Duke Energy is continuing work on the Pisgah Ridge Solar project at a site approximately 50 miles southeast of Dallas. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • 209 MW Wind Project – In May 2021, Spanish energy company, EDP Renewables commissioned the Reloj del Sol Wind project at a site approximately 250 miles southwest of the state capital, Austin.
  • 200 MW Solar Project – In August 2022, German energy company, RWE Renewables commissioned the Big Star Solar Project at a site approximately 25 miles southeast of Austin.
  • 200 MW Energy Storage – In June 2022, Texas company, Jupiter Power commissioned the Crossett battery storage project at a site approximately 300 miles northwest of Austin.
  • 181 MW Solar + 55 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2021, Italian utility Enel commissioned the Lily solar plus storage at a site approximately 10 miles southwest of Dallas.
  • 180 MW Wind Project – In August 2021, EDP Renewables commissioned the Wildcat Creek Wind Farm at a site approximately 50 miles north of Dallas.
  • 144 MW Wind ProjectIn May 2021, Tennessee engineering company, Signal Energy commissioned the East Blackland Solar project at a site approximately 15 miles northeast of Austin.
  • 120 MW Solar Project – California renewable energy company SB Energy is continuing work on the MW Eiffel Solar project at a site approximately 100 miles northeast of Dallas. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 100 MW Wind Project – French utility, EDF Renewables is continuing work on the King Creek 1 Wind Project at a site approximately 175 miles west of Dallas. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
  • 105 MW Solar Project In October 2021, California renewable energy company, Pattern Energy Group commissioned the Phoenix Solar project at a site approximately 60 miles northeast of Dallas.
  • 100 MW Energy Storage System – In August 2021, Colorado energy storage developer, Able Grid Energy Solutions commissioned the Chisholm Grid battery energy storage system located in the city of Fort Worth.

Conclusions

Commercial coal mining began in Texas in 1819[7] near the Sabine River. Coal was initially used to fuel steam engines for the railroad, stoves, and forges.

In 2020, Texas had seven operating coal mines[8], which produced approximately 19.68 million tons of lignite and bituminous coal. The coal used to fuel Texas’ power plants is brought primarily from Wyoming by rail.

In 2010, 42.7% of Texas’ electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants[9]. In April 2022, 15.9 % of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease in the use of coal?

  1. EconomicsThe cost to generate power from coal is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like wind.
  2. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America[10].
  3. Climate Change Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

Texas has long been known as a major producer of oil and gas. Texas has been actively developing renewable energy projects since 2005. In 2021, approximately 26 % of the total wind capacity[11] in the United States was in the Lone Star State.

Forget black gold, renewable energy is booming in the Lone Star State!

 Jack Kerfoot

Website “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

[1] Texas Population 2022, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Texas Economic Development, “Target Industry Clusters

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] Elecktrek, Texas Wind Power Smashes Records In March 2021 by Michelle Lewis, April 7, 2021

[6] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Texas State Profile and Energy Estimates, Electricity Analysis

[7] Historical Coal Mining In Texas,  Surface Mining and Reclamation Division, Railroad Commission of Texas

[8] U.S. EIA Annual Coal Report, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State, County, and Mine Type 2020, October 2021

[9] U.S. EIA, Electric Power Sector Consumption Estimates, Texas 1960-2018

[10] Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019

[11] U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) – Texas

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