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Which State Leads the Country in Renewable Energy Use? Hint: It’s not California or Florida

Posted on Posted in CEA Blog

People from other states probably have a certain perception of the Lone Star State as a fierce advocate for fossil fuels. That perception isn’t entirely false; however, it doesn’t take into account the fact that Texas leads the nation in the use of renewable energy for its own electric grid. By early in 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, almost half of the energy used by the Texas electric grid came from renewable sources.

What to Know About Alternative Energy in Texas

If Texas leadership in alternative energy is somewhat surprising news, it might help to learn more about which kinds of renewable power sources are most popular in the state:

  • Wind turbines: The largest state among the Lower 48 has plenty of open spaces for wind turbines, so wind has become the primary source of alternative energy in Texas. While companies located most of these farms in West Texas, they have worked to build transmission lines to carry power to larger cities in the central, eastern, and northern parts of the state.
  • Solar power: California has a head start on Texas when it comes to solar capacity. At the same time, Texans expect a surge in solar capacity in the near future. Obviously, there is plenty of room for growth in the use of this kind of alternative energy within the state.

A few years ago, many power companies would give their customers an option to choose a plan that would use at least a certain percentage of renewable energy for their power. These plans weren’t necessarily cheaper at the time, but some customers decided to pay slightly more as a way to support the early efforts. Now these kinds of plans have mostly disappeared as acquiring grid energy from wind turbines has become so common. Texas consumers voted for clean energy with their dollars, not necessarily at the ballot box.

People may not consider Texas as a progressive advocate of clean energy or climate change legislation. At the same time, the energy market in this state operates in a very free way that gives these new industries access to utility companies and infrastructure. The way the energy market works in Texas lent itself to the emergence of alternative energy providers.

The Future of Renewable Energy in Texas

Certainly, people across the country may associate Texas with cowboys and oilmen. Those images are certainly valid representations of the legacy of the Lone Star State. At the same time, anybody who knows about industry in Texas should also know that its current economy is also based upon high tech and the space program. In time, perhaps a new image of wind turbines and solar farms should be added into the mix.

 

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