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What's Powering the Texas Wind Energy Industry?
"Texas has added more wind-based generating capacity than any other state, with wind turbines accounting for 16% of electrical generating capacity as of April," report Bill Spindle and Rebecca Smith. Now Texas is anticipating a huge surge in solar power.
As for how Texas, "one of the few reliably Republican states," jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon," Spindle and Smith trace the growth of the industry to former President George W. Bush's time in the governor's office.
The roots of Texas’ renewables boom go back to 1999, when then-Gov. George W. Bush and a Republican-dominated legislature overhauled the Texas power market. The free market-oriented deregulation broke the grip of most monopoly utilities that controlled generation, transmission and retail sales of electricity and introduced competitive auctions for wholesale power.
That market environment as enabled the state to create more than 19,000 megawatts of renewable capacity by April of 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Energy cited in the article. That's enough renewable energy to power 4 million homes.
Spindle and Smith reference the potential for similar growth in the Texas solar market in the future. Recent Planetizen coverage, however, has noted that solar businesses are struggling to gain momentum in the state.
The strength of the Texas wind energy industry, however, has been obvious since 2014, when the state began smashing its wind power records. There's also the city of Georgetown, near Austin, which announced its plans to go 100 percent renewable back in 2015.