Clean energy is thriving in Texas, but many state Republicans are trying to fight its success.
- In just three years, Texas has added the solar equivalent of 12 nuclear reactors, putting it on the cusp of surpassing California as the top producer of electricity from solar farms, according to Bloomberg.
- Texas is already the top state in wind production, making it the largest clean-energy market in the U.S. The state is also thoroughly adding to EV production as leading manufacturer Tesla moved its headquarters to the state in 2021.
- Despite the growing clean-energy movement, state Republicans recently introduced a package of bills to the state legislature to punish renewable energy and boost fossil fuels.
Why it’s important
The U.S. has been introducing numerous clean-energy incentives to boost clean energy nationwide, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which has authorized more than $369 billion in tax credits and investments for clean energy into law.
The Act is investing billions into clean energy sources such as wind and solar and offering up to $7,500 in tax credits for electric vehicles to help decrease pollution from gas-powered cars.
Texas is the leading state for clean energy, generating the most electricity from wind and solar—producing nearly three times as much power from renewable sources last year than California.
Although Texas is leading the country in renewable energy, that has not stopped state Republicans from introducing new legislation that aims to stifle the state’s thriving clean energy industry.
State Republicans recently introduced a package of bills to the state legislature intended to punish renewable energy and boost fossil fuels, including a measure that would increase the amount of gas-fired electricity generated by the state by upwards of 10 gigawatts and one that would limit the development of renewable energy in the state based on how much natural gas generation is also being built, according to information from Inside Climate News.
Many Republicans have long argued that President Joe Biden’s push for clean energy could upend the state’s large fossil-fuel industry, which generates hundreds of billions every year. Many officials also argue that clean energy is less reliable than fossil fuel electricity.
While most of those bills have not been passed, the push in recent weeks could be a problem for state officials who are looking to benefit from the hundreds of billions of federal dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act that have started to become available for clean energy and climate projects.
While Texas benefits from the push for clean energy from its abundance of EV factories, wind, and solar projects, the state also relies heavily on its oil refineries, and the clean-energy industry is starting to affect the oil industry.
Energy analysts are predicting that the continued push could force the closure of refineries along the Gulf Coast and around the country as a whole, taking some of the benefits out of Texas, which many believe is the reason for Republicans fighting against the thriving clean energy movement.
As more companies start adapting to clean energy, it is leaving oil companies to decline.
Conservatives for clean energy
A growing public advocacy network is trying to convince Republicans to see the value in clean energy.
The Conservative Energy Network (CEN) is a mix of conservative-leaning organizations, launched in 2016, attempting to advance clean-energy solutions through the free market as an alternative to widespread government reform of the energy sector.
Representatives from the group meet with small towns across southern and midwestern states continually to appeal on behalf of wind and solar power as a net benefit for their lives and finances. The group has thus far successfully helped farmers secure wind and solar farm permits and produce 2.8 gigawatts of power per year, Bloomberg reports.
It also works with Republican governors and politicians to reduce efforts to push back against clean energy solutions while helping states take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act.