Texas Ideal for Solar and Wind Energy
A study from Rice University says that wind and solar production in the state is complementary and could take the place of coal energy, which now makes up a quarter of the state’s power, reports Erin Douglas:
Scientists found that between wind energy from West Texas and the Gulf Coast, and solar energy across the state, Texas could meet a significant portion of its electricity demand from renewable power without extensive battery storage. The reason: These sources generate power at different times of day, meaning that coordinating them could replace production from coal-fired plants.
However, Douglas notes that weather is unpredictable. "Texas would still need battery storage and natural gas-fired power plants to fill in gaps when, for example, winds might slacken earlier than expected."
Wind power makes up 18 percent of Texas’ electricity, and the state produces the most wind energy in the country. Solar power has yet to ramp up substantially, and it currently only contributes to 1 percent of the state’s power. However, because Texas has a great deal of sunshine and the cost of solar continues to drop, energy experts predict it will play a bigger role in the future.