Is Texas a Green State? It May Be One of the Cleanest States in the Nation…

is texas a green state

Given its intrinsic association with the oil industry, just how and why Texas has become the state that generates some of the most green energy in the US is a mystery to many. Last year, between 25 and 45% of the state’s energy needs were met by renewable energy sources – depending on the month. Today, Texas is the biggest producer of wind power-generated energy in the whole of the US and the second-biggest producer of solar power-generated energy, second only to super sunny California.

There are many factors that contributed to the boom in wind and solar energy permitting in the Lonestar State, but the upshot is that the rise is saving the state’s residents, on average, around $200 a year in bills. So, just how did Texas become the green capital of the USA? We take a look at the reasons behind this unlikely outcome below.

clean energy from wind farm

Prime Geography

A large factor in the rise of renewables in Texas is simply down to the state’s unique geography, which is perfect for developing solar and wind facilities. The state boasts a huge amount of wide, open spaces that receive both a lot of sun and wind, making them ideal for the creation of renewable resources.

Key, too, to the successful development of wind energy is the fact that Texas had existing transmission capabilities in place, something that many other states aren’t able to boast. This allowed for turbines to be built and the resultant electricity generated to be easily transmitted to larger cities throughout Texas.

Deregulation of the Energy Market

Another factor in Texas’s ascent to the title of green capital of the US is the state’s deregulated energy market and standalone energy grid. This scenario effectively allows any entity to start generating the power, enter the market, and supply this energy to the market.

Keen to catalyze development in the fairly sparsely populated western part of Texas, local legislators have economically incentivized the creation of wind farms over the past few decades. Combined with the other factors at play, this has been a crucial part of Texas’s renewable energy journey.

Federal Initiatives

Federal subsidies have also played a role, which has made it more affordable for renewable projects – such as the construction of wind turbines – to get off the ground. While these projects formerly came at a significantly high capital cost, the combination of subsidies and tax credits for renewable developments has made them a potentially much more profitable proposition.

Influential Allies

The renewable industry in Texas found unlikely allies in a number of the region’s influential oil executives, who realized that clean energy was not only the way ahead but a potentially extremely lucrative way ahead. For example, former president George W. Bush, then the state’s governor, signed deregulation legislation in 1999 which served to open up the market and created an effective state mandate for wind power.

Defeat of Anti-Renewable Bills

There have been – and are – those who oppose this drive towards renewables. In a recent session, Republican legislators attempted to introduce several anti-renewable bills (with the support of the fossil fuel industry) that included a new tax on electric car owners. However, virtually none of these bills passed, demonstrating that the renewables industry in Texas is – it seems – politically bulletproof. The upsurge of green energy production pleases both halves of the spectrum: Democrats like its clean, renewable credentials, while Republicans appreciate how good it is for economic development.

What Does This Mean for Renters in Texas?

The Lone Star State’s status as the pioneering green capital of the US is great news for renters (and homeowners) who are enjoying significant savings on their electricity bills. Further, the lack of emissions, as compared to oil-fuelled power stations, means residents can enjoy a cleaner, greener environment.

Renters considering installing a domestic wind turbine to help power their home will need to get permission from their landlord first. If you’re given the go-ahead, check your renter’s insurance provider to find out whether this turbine would be covered on your existing policy. If you haven’t got this type of policy, it’s highly recommended to have renters insurance in Texas. This is a vital means of protecting your personal possessions from a range of risks, including damage and theft.

Texas’s Renewable Energy Boom: The Future

The future of renewable energy in Texas is a bright one, which is great news for Texas-based businesses, residents, and the economy in general. With an increasing shift to sustainability, this boom is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, helped along by the falling price of solar panels and related equipment in the state. Indeed, Texas has done so well in shifting from fossil fuels to renewables that other states and countries are looking to the state for inspiration on going green.

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