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About the Power Up Texas Alliance
Power Up Texas is an alliance of stakeholders bound by a mission to educate and advocate for innovative, sustainable electricity generation in Texas, including the expansion of clean, renewable energy resources.
Texas has become the national leader for economic expansion, innovation, investment, employment opportunities, sensible regulation and excellent quality of life. People across the country are moving to Texas by the hundreds of thousands each year. As Texas grows, so does our enormous demand for electricity.
Texas is both the #1 energy producer and consumer in the country. Our economy and continued growth are dependent on reliable power, and how we meet this massive demand has tremendous implications. In order to remain on top, Texas should incentivize all forms of energy development and encourage our state’s innovative spirit and uniquely qualified workforce. Renewable energy is helping Texas meet this growing demand for energy, while also providing jobs, bolstering rural economies and supporting communities all across the state.
Texas Renewable Energy
Leading the nation
Renewables are the fastest-growing electricity generation source in the United States, with 24% of U.S. electricity generation coming from renewable sources in the first half of 2022.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas led the nation in overall renewable energy production in the first quarter of 2022, accounting for over 14% of the country’s totals.
The success of renewable energy in Texas is the result of strong leadership at every level by creating a competitive market, investing in the power grid, and diversifying our electricity supply for the future, while taking advantage of our state’s most abundant resources.
Texas Renewable Energy: More than Electricity
Renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and storage do more than ensure communities can count on reliable power when they need it; renewable energy is an economic boon to Texas, creating jobs, business opportunity, and revenue streams that strengthen communities and provide economic opportunity for families.
From the Panhandle to the Valley, rural communities in Texas are a beacon of growth and industry diversification when it comes to harnessing our abundant natural resources.
The Economic Impact of Texas Renewable Energy:
Supporting Local Communities’:
Water Saved by Wind Energy in 2019 alone:
billion gallons of water
metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions prevented
Texas Energy Policy
What Should be Prioritized During the 88th Texas Legislative Session?
Encouraging Economic Development
In many cases, renewable energy investments are the #1 taxpayers in rural Texas counties, generating much-needed revenue for schools and local government services. Texas rural communities are at tremendous risk if their economic development tools are deliberately stripped away, and we must stand up for them!
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said he killed the Chapter 313 program during the last legislative session because it was dominated by renewables, and yet, no program has been more effective in bringing tax revenue and job creation opportunities to rural areas of our state!
While nearly two thirds of the counties benefiting from the 313 program have used it exclusively for renewable energy investments, only 27% of the tax benefit provided by the program went to renewable energy projects.
The House Ways and Means Committee will soon consider HB 5, a bill that will replace one of the most effective programs in bringing tax revenue and job creation opportunities to our state.
To keep homegrown, clean energy investments growing and generating tax revenue across Texas, we must urge lawmakers to include renewables as an eligible participant in HB 5 so that as many Texas communities as possible have the ability to attract large-scale capital investment.
We encourage lawmakers to ensure that HB 5 is:
- technology agnostic;
- based on overall economic impact and the needs of the partnering community; and
- free of any unnecessary government mandates on program participants.
A program that diverts from these principles will:
- jeopardize the ability of rural Texas to attract new large-scale capital investment;
- ignore the needs of communities who seek opportunities for passive income to support their existing population and infrastructure without adding new residents to meet employment goals; and
- create the unintended consequence of increasing costs for Texas energy consumers.
The Texas Economic Miracle was not an accident! It was the product of thoughtful policies and hard work to attract investment to Texas. We MUST encourage our Legislature to deliver tomorrow’s prosperity by reviving the tools that bring economic growth to our state!
Promoting Renewable Energy Expansion
Legislation that impedes renewable energy development is currently being considered. SB 624 adds a section to the Utilities Code to create a renewable energy permitting regime for the stated purpose of protecting the wildlife, water, and land of Texas from “the impact of renewable energy generation facilities.”
No other type of energy generation is included in the proposal, even though renewable energy generation facilities use no water, emit no greenhouse gases, and allow landowners to continue using land for many other purposes during energy production. Unlike other energy generation, renewable energy is also subject to rigorous decommissioning requirements in state law.
This proposed legislation:
- Neglects Texas’ pro-business foundation
SB 624 neglects the pro-business foundation that the Texas Miracle was built upon. Over-burdensome, unnecessary regulation on an industry already subject to requirements from more than 15 government agencies will halt investment and innovation, squash competition, and raise prices for consumers.
- Jeopardizes reliability with substantial, burdensome requirements and costs
SB 624 applies to existing facilities and therefore introduces substantial requirements and costs that were not considered in the development and financing plans for renewable energy projects. In a state growing as rapidly as Texas, we cannot afford to derail clean, affordable power or powering plans.
- Tramples Texas’ coveted private property rights
SB 624 empowers non-elected bureaucrats, and any neighbor within 25 miles of a project, to decide the highest and best use of an individual’s property. Current standards across the nation – including in states with far weaker private property rights – require notification to adjacent owners, but rarely those more than one mile away.
- Costs Texas consumers
Wind and solar power serve as the price hedge for consumers in Texas because they are not dependent on any commodity to generate power. SB 624 will remove a significant amount of renewable energy projects from the grid, resulting in higher cost electricity and a market dependent on highly-volatile sources of fuel.
- Discourages free-market investment
SB 624 discourages free-market investment by providing ill-equipped, uninformed state agencies with the authority to request superfluous information, determine locational boundaries of renewable energy facilities, and dictate how a project should maximize energy output.
We MUST encourage our Legislature to reject legislation that impedes renewable energy expansion in Texas!
Enhancing Transmission to Increase Grid Reliability
To keep up with increased demand, and to continue providing the lowest-cost generation to rate-payers, Texas must improve its transmission planning processes so that ERCOT is not regularly instructing power plants to reduce or halt output due to overloaded power lines.
- Texas’ current transmission infrastructure is deficient.
With an evolving generation resource mix in the ERCOT power region and major growth in consumer demand, it’s critical that electricity be delivered throughout the state in an efficient and cost-effective manner. One way to achieve this is by deploying additional high voltage power lines that move electricity from generation to consumers throughout the state. More transmission lines will ensure our grid maximizes the output of existing and future generation resources. With more efficient movement of power, the Texas grid will become more reliable, resilient, and will face fewer situations when consumers are unable to receive the lowest-cost power due to limited transmission line capacity. A practical example of this is found during Winter Storm Uri when more than 5,000 MW – enough to power about one million homes during that time – was stranded behind constrained transmission lines, undeliverable to consumers who desperately needed it.
- Texas consumers are burdened with hidden costs associated with transmission constraints.
In 2022 alone, real-time congestion costs exceeded $2.8 BILLION, which was a 33% increase over the prior year and nearly 200% more than five years ago. Increased costs such as this are alarming, particularly in a time when energy prices are skyrocketing due to geopolitical forces in Eastern Europe and out-of-market actions taken by regulatory agencies at the state and federal level. This is to say nothing of the fact that energy curtailment reduces the amount of lease payment income for landowners and tax revenue in rural communities for schools, infrastructure, and services.
- ERCOT’s current transmission planning process is antiquated.
As it currently stands, ERCOT’s process for transmission planning is not keeping pace with the state’s economic and population growth and it is not consistent with planning in other power markets. To achieve more reliable delivery of power at the lowest possible cost, ERCOT needs a more holistic planning process that better captures systemwide benefits and a broader range of reliability benefits and cost savings to consumers.
We MUST encourage our Legislature to enhance the grid’s reliability by improving our state’s transmission processes and infrastructure!
The road to renewable energy’s success in Texas began in 1999 under the leadership of then Governor George W. Bush and continued with support from Texas leaders over the past two decades.
Most of Texas’ renewable resources are concentrated in West and South Texas, while the majority of the population and power demand lies in the eastern portion of the state. To address this challenge, then Governor Perry signed legislation directing the development of over 2,300 miles of high-voltage new transmission lines that would allow for the efficient movement of energy from West and South Texas to the high demand centers further east and north.
In 2005, the state legislature amended the mandate to require that 5,880 megawatts, or less than 5% of electric consumption, come from renewable sources by 2015. Lawmakers also set a goal of 10,000 megawatts of renewable capacity by 2025. Texas surpassed the 2015 goal in 2005 and the 2025 goal in 2009, almost entirely with wind power. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) collaborated with ERCOT, Texas’ self-contained electric grid, to establish the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ).
Completed in 2013, the $6.9 billion CREZ transmission project transmits more than 18.5 MW of wind, solar and gas generated electricity across Texas. But, development and demand are beginning to overtake bandwidth, and without expansion, potential industry investments that are powering rural communities across the state will stall.
Power Up Texas will advocate for the continuation and expansion of these policies that have supported the industry and allowed for immense growth.
“The state’s investment in adequate transmission capacity was vital as it provided access to wind generation in remote areas of Texas for customers hundreds of miles away in high-density population areas across the state,” Abbott said. “In addition, the unique presence of one electric grid for most of the state—the Electric Reliability Council of Texas region—creates an advantage over other states.”
– Governor Greg Abbott
Help us build a coalition of support for renewable energy in Texas!
Strong economic policy initiatives like the Texas Economic Development Act, better known as Chapter 313, have historically helped Texas in its pursuit of a cleaner, less expensive, “Made in Texas” energy future. No program has been more effective in bringing economic development, job creation, and capital investment to rural areas of our state.
But this progress is in jeopardy. Chapter 313 expired on December 31, 2022, and now HB 5 has been introduced this legislative session as its replacement. We must now urge lawmakers to include renewable energy in HB 5 to ensure Texas’ clean energy portfolio can continue growing. A diverse energy portfolio that leverages the strengths of each of Texas’ energy resources and utilizes them in concert to limit pollution and to guarantee reliability and affordability depends on it!