Texas is synonymous with American energy production; the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that it is the nation’s largest energy-producing state, including leading in both oil and natural gas—but also wind energy.
In fact, last year, the power produced by coal in Texas was overtaken by the power produced by clean energy technology, like wind and solar. According to data tracked by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the Lone Star state produced 21.5% of its energy from renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro and biomass) compared to 20.3% produced from coal.
Much of the new energy generation is due to the success of wind power in Texas.
Texas has seen a dramatic rise in wind power generation since 2003, when the power source was barely present in the state’s grid. Now wind power accounts for about a fifth of the total energy generated in the state. With more than 13,000 wind turbines running at a capacity of 24.2 gigawatts (GW), Texas reigns supreme in wind energy.
This news comes as the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) has acknowledged the fossil fuel industry’s impact on carbon emissions and climate change. This week, TXOGA president Todd Staples spoke out on the issue during a media conference call.
“I think Texas is at risk if we don’t have a very real, factual-based conversation about our climate, about our environment, and about the progress that needs to be made,” said Staples. “I think Texas-based oil and natural gas companies are committed to making climate progress. They’re committed to a lower emissions future.”
The switch to renewable energy has been mirrored nationwide as renewables picked up momentum over the last year. In April 2019, the EIA noted that renewable energy generation surpassed coal generation in the United States for the first time in history.
“Record generation from wind and near-record generation from solar contributed to the overall rise in renewable electricity generation this spring. Electricity generation from wind and solar has increased as more generating capacity has been installed,” the EIA wrote in the report.
“U.S. coal generation has declined from its peak a decade ago. Since the beginning of 2015, about 47 GW of U.S. coal-fired capacity has retired, and virtually no new coal capacity has come online. Based on reported plans for retirements, EIA expects another 4.1 GW of coal capacity will retire in 2019, accounting for more than half of all anticipated power plant retirements for the year.”
In a new EIA report released this week, renewable energy generation capacity in Texas is expected to experience more growth in 2020, with additional wind and solar capacity added throughout the Lone Star State.
Texas continues to be a great example of a state that has truly embraced all-of-the-above energy sources.