Office of the Governor Rick Perry

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Expansion of Renewable Energy

Summary of Achievement

Texas is a world leader in wind power, with more wind power installed than any other state and all but four other countries.  The state has also made a commitment to modernizing its transmission grid to enable the movement of more than 18,000 megawatts of wind power from West Texas to the major population centers in the eastern and central parts of the state.  Texas has also invested more than $1 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund to support solar energy manufacturing and has invested more than $4.5 million from the Emerging Technology Fund to support the commercialization of the next generation of solar energy technologies.

The Challenge

As one of the fastest growing states and healthiest economies in the country, Texas must continue to meet its growing demand for electricity.  The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) forecasts that peak demand will grow at approximately two percent per year between now and 2025, requiring almost a 50 percent increase in generation capacity by that date.  Texas is also highly dependent on natural gas-fired electric generation can also lead to higher electricity prices during periods of volatility in natural gas prices.

Action / Initiative

The Governor has made diversifying the energy mix of Texas’ electricity market one of his major priorities, and renewable energy, in conjunction with the next generation of cleaner coal plants, energy efficiency, and new nuclear plants, plays a key role in that diversification. Fostering the renewable energy industry in Texas has led to reduced reliance on natural gas generation as well as tremendous economic development opportunities in the rural areas of our state.

Senate Bill 20, signed by Governor Perry in 2005, contained a critical commitment to expand the state’s transmission grid in order to maximize the ability to move wind power from West Texas to the rest of the state.  This unique commitment has provided needed certainty to renewable energy developers and, in conjunction with Texas’ abundant wind resources, competitive marketplace for electricity, and stable regulatory structure, has made Texas the easiest state to develop renewable energy. 
Texas has also utilized its economic development tools to provide incentives for companies to locate solar manufacturing in the state and commercialize the next generation of solar energy technologies.  Texas also expects to add several large solar and biomass electric generation facilities in the coming years. As a result, Texas is home to the two largest wind farms in the world, the Roscoe Wind Farm (781 megawatts) and the Horse Hollow wind farm (750 megawatts). 

The Outcome

Governor Perry has created an environment conducive to the development of renewable energy.  Renewable companies continue to move to Texas, investing billions of dollars in capital.  Texas is also successfully diversifying its portfolio of electric generation facilities.