Key Updates on Texas Renewable Energy

The global focus on the need to reduce carbon emissions brought about by climate change issues brought about more concerted moves towards the use of renewable sources of energy in the electricity generation industry. Texas, with the largest per capita power consumption in the nation, has been at the forefront on utilizing renewable energy.

The deregulated Texas electricity market paved the way for major players in renewable energy, giving the Texas consumer the power to select retail electric providers with a clean energy portfolio. The Texas renewable energy projects are considered some of the most successful and most effective programs in the country.

Renewable Energy Credits

In 1999, the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS was established as a means to restructure the Texas electricity market towards increased incentives for producers of renewable energy. Part of this is the implementation of the Renewable Energy Credit or REC program by the Texas Public Utility Commission.

Functioning much like stock certificates, each REC or Renewable energy credit correspond to megawatt-hours of Texas electricity generated from renewable energy sources. Sold by producers of renewable energy, RECs provide more market incentives in the development of facilities and structures that generate renewable energy.

Retail electric providers make claims of green or renewable energy to consumers, and this is substantiated by voluntarily retiring the RECs they acquired based on their annual mandated renewable energy portfolio load-ratio share.

Exceeding 2025 Targets

Up to 15 million renewable energy credits were voluntarily retired in 2009 by retail electricity providers. This increased the state’s renewable energy capacity grid to 10,000 megawatts which is way above the original 2,000 megawatts mandated target — 15 years earlier than its original target for 2025. As a result, Texas doubled its target for 2015 and is most likely to exceed that as well.

Wind Energy

Since 2006, Texas has been the national leader in wind energy generation, with over 9,410 megawatts installed wind capacity from over 40 separate wind energy projects. Collectively, these wind energy farms generated over 20.6 million megawatt-hours of Texas electricity in 2009.

Wind energy is so successful in Texas that it has exceeded the existing transmission capabilities in the state, which is currently stepping up to keep up with the booming industry. This local surplus of Texas electricity generated by wind power attributes to the relatively lower price ranges in the state, particularly during winter. Aside from that, the wind power industry has helped create thousands of jobs within the state.

Solar Energy

Texas is also not far behind with regards to solar energy, with state legislation requiring Texas electric utilities to support its target of 2000 megawatts, which can power as much as half a million homes by the year 2020. This coming boom in the solar energy industry is also projected to generate as much as 125,000 new jobs for Texans by the year 2020.

TX is not alone in pursuing renewable energy initiatives as other states are developing their own programs towards the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of green energy sources. However, there is no doubt that Texas is paving the way in the renewable energy industry making it a successful program for other states, as well as the federal government, to follow.

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