This column by TAB Policy Manager, Rebecca Grande, was originally published by the Sweetwater Reporter.
There is a worldwide need for the US to increase its domestic energy production. Inflation, war, and burdensome regulations are causing businesses and the American people to pay record prices for energy while allies abroad are paying much more – along with the threat of a shortage of supplies in the winter.
While our state is most notably known as number one in the U.S. for oil and gas, we are also the top leader in renewable energy production. Texas produces two times more wind power than any other states combined and is on track to becoming the largest solar producer in the country. We’ve put more renewables on the grid than any state – including California – over the past five years. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported that since July 2022, renewables have accounted for over 38% of energy contributing to the grid, with wind at 30%, solar at 6%, and hydro and biomass contributing about 2%. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “ERCOT is the only electricity market region where the renewable electricity share has transitioned from less than the U.S. average to more than the U.S. average from 2013 to present.”
In addition, Texas continues to be a leader in hydrogen and battery storage capabilities with anticipation to be the top state in these technologies in the coming years. Not surprisingly, Texas is also the top exporter of energy -- mainly oil and natural gas. Renewables can also play a key part in exporting energy. Renewables are also one of the reasons ERCOT has been able to keep the power on during record demand.
Despite its flaws, the reconciliation bill signed this summer includes measures that will help make battery storage, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, carbon capture, electric vehicles, and wind more cost-effective. All told, the law includes a staggering $370 billion for this purpose over the next ten years. Given that Texas is already ahead of all other states in clean energy generation, it’s clear that we will benefit more than any other state from those provisions.
The Texas Association of Business recognizes that energy prices have a significant impact on a company’s operating costs. It is important to consider every energy source that can provide potential savings to Texas employers. There is a need to encourage voluntary, free-market solutions to energy conservation that maximize investment in energy infrastructure and promote competitive economic development in Texas.
Texas’ business-friendly regulatory environment, light tax structure, abundance of land, and strong workforce are all contributing factors to how we’ve won Best State for Business for 18 consecutive years, Site Selection’s Governor’s Cup for 10 consecutive years, and how we’ve become the home for more Fortune 500 headquarters than any other state in the nation. Offering affordable, diversified, abundant, and reliable energy, a true all-of-the-above energy approach, is the cherry on top that will continue attracting world-class companies to our state and overall benefit our nation’s economy.
Rebecca Grande is a policy manager specializing in energy, environment, transportation, and water policy areas. For more information on the Texas Association of Business and its legislative priorities for the 88th session, visit txbiz.org. All communications and media questions can be directed to Katie Greer at email@example.com.