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Texas Continues To Dominate US Clean Energy Generation

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Photo Courtesy ENGIE

Texas continues to lead the United States in wind and solar as renewable energy companies grow projects throughout the state. The Lone Star State’s geography is key for the expansion of these projects, translating to a significant boom in clean energy jobs from the Piney Woods to the western desert. Inside Climate News reported that Texas generated 136,118 gigawatt-hours from wind and utility-scale solar in 2022, most from wind, accounting for more than a quarter of all U.S.-sourced wind energy.

“It’s a big state. There are a lot of areas where it’s sunny and it’s windy,” Rob Minter, ENGIE North America senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs, said in an interview with PBS NewsHour. “In the wide open spaces of West Texas and South Texas, there are some wonderful areas for development of renewable resources.”

Video Courtesy ENGIE North America

Though the state generates more megawatts of wind power than any other, it still trails California in solar projects. According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, the state generated nearly 40% of its total energy from carbon-free sources in 2022 — wind, nuclear, solar, hydroelectric, and biomass sources. 

The state’s move to renewables is often about economics. In fact, the switch began in 1999, when then-Gov. George W. Bush signed a deregulation bill into law. It made the state’s power market more competitive while adding a state mandate for wind power.

Soon, it became clear that switching to cleaner energy like wind and solar made landowners more money and put savings back in the pockets of energy consumers.

One study found that the savings could amount to as much as $200 a year, although PBS NewsHour reported that some say the figure could be inflated.

Photo Courtesy ENGIE

Jobs are also vital to the growth of renewables in Texas. According to a U.S. Department of Energy report, the state had almost 1 million energy workers statewide in 2022, representing more than a 10th of all American energy jobs.

Of that near million, nearly 400,000 jobs were in clean energy “if traditional transmission and distribution” are included and almost 250,000 jobs if it is not. 

The state benefits from a massive number of workers transitioning from work in the oil and gas industry to new, cleaner energy jobs. Many of those workers and company leaders now better understand the impact of the decision to switch to clean energy sources.

“What we see as time goes on is people have realized that climate change isn’t a far-off problem. They’re still passionate about providing affordable energy to the world, but the priorities shift a little bit because of how urgent the climate crisis is,” Tim Latimer, founder and CEO of Fervo Energy — a leader in geothermal energy, said to PBS NewsHour. Latimer began his work in traditional fossil fuels. “And I think there’s a lot of people who have made that realization, just like I have.” 

Photo Courtesy Fervo Energy 

The second largest state in the U.S. is truly showing how a shift to renewables can not only help clean up the air, water, and soil but also have huge economic benefits. Texas is proving to be a global leader in a world where, at the UN climate conference COP28 in December of last year, 118 countries pledged to triple the amount of renewable energy they are generating by 2030.


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