AUSTIN - Texas has long led the nation in total wind power capacity, but with 21.9% of total electricity sales coming from renewable energy, Texas ranks just 11th in the nation for its percentage of renewables, according to a new study by the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas and North Dakota all had more than 45% renewable power in 2019. However, the group pointed to new wind, solar and battery projects in development as likely to vault Texas up the rankings in the coming years.
“Are we really going to let *Oklahoma* beat us on renewable energy?” asked Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas, noting that the Sooner State has double the percentage of wind and solar as Texas. “We’ve got to step up our game if we want to be number one - which, of course we do.”
The project, Renewables on the Rise 2020, documents and compares the growth of five key clean energy technologies in each state over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicles. Texas ranks:
#1 for wind energy production (84429 gigawatt hours in 2019)
#3 for battery storage capacity (114 megawatts)
#5 for solar energy production (5322 gigawatt hours in 2019)
#5 for number of electric vehicles (36,689 as of June 2019)
#4 for charging stations (1350)
#34 for energy efficiency (0.18% of 2019 electricity saved)
Overall, Texas fell just outside the top 10 for the total percentage of electricity coming from advanced clean energy sources like wind and solar. However, according to plans filed with the state’s primary electric grid operator, ERCOT, developers plan to add almost as much wind to Texas’ grid as has been installed in the last five years combined, and to triple solar capacity.
Environment Texas urged state leaders to ensure these proposed projects get built, including by continuing financial incentives, investing in new transmission lines to help bring wind and solar to Texas cities, removing barriers to rooftop solar and EV charging stations, and setting a goal for 100 percent clean electricity by 2035.
Renewable energy has created enormous environmental benefits for Texas. In 2017, according to research by UT’s Dr. Joshua Rhodes, renewable energy in Texas:
Conserved 22 billion gallons of water
Saved $33 billion in potential health costs from avoided sulfur dioxide pollution
Avoided the release of 52 million tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere