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Renewables Make History

Updated: May 9, 2023

For the first time in United States history, renewable electricity generation surpassed coal. The growth in wind and solar due to their lower cost structure has accounted for the use of renewables to rise. Texas remains a leader in both the renewable and nonrenewable energy space. In fact, Texas provides 26% of the total wind generated energy in the US. This is more than double the amount of the second largest wind producer of Iowa at only 10%. Texas provides the second largest output in solar energy (behind California) by producing 16% of the nation’s solar power. Texas may soon become the largest solar producer in the country based on continued growth and investment. The state has also invested in geothermal energy and green hydrogen. In fact, Texas will soon be home to the largest green hydrogen facility in the country.

According to the American Council on Renewable Energy, renewable energy is the most affordable source of new electricity. This, along with emission goals, drives the increase in the use of renewables. However, we cannot solely rely on just renewables for our power. That is why an all-the-above energy approach is necessary. The U.S. Energy Information Administration published a report stating that the country is still reliant on fossil fuels, as they account for over 20% of electricity. Texas is the largest producer and exporter of natural gas, which is currently the largest source of electricity, accounting for 39% in 2022. This was an increase from 37% the year prior. Texas continues to see investment in both renewable and nonrenewable resources. In recent years, there has been a particular interest in carbon capture and storage.

Companies have invested billions in the carbon capture and storage industry. According to the Global CCS Institute, in 2022 alone, CCS projects grew by 44%. Carbon capture and storage continues to make headlines across the nation with historic capital investments. Multiple states, such as Louisiana and Mississippi have already laid the regulatory groundwork to support these types of projects. It is also of interest to our Texas legislature, with several bills having been filed to support the effort, such as SB 2107 authored by Senator Nichols.

CCS projects in Texas will create 18,000 jobs for construction and infrastructure as well as an additional 9,000 jobs for ongoing operations. These projects will also provide over $60 billion in private investments, which will directly impact small businesses and strengthen rural communities where CCS projects are located.

An increase in energy increases the need for a resilient and reliant grid structure. As more come online, it is important that Texas comes up with a solution to maintain reliability in our grid system. A grid that is resilient, reliable, and cost-effective is necessary to keep our lights on and power our AC as the Texas sun heats up. The Texas legislature is currently negotiating ways in which to make this a reality.

Investments in both renewable and nonrenewable energy sources will continue to boost the Texas economy for years to come, making a true all-the-above energy approach imperative for Texas to remain on top.

Rebecca Grande manages energy policies for the Texas Association of Business, the Texas State Chamber.


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