September 30, 2016

Is Texas Going Green?

by Anthony Wright

Earlier this year, California toppled Texas as the busiest housing market in the United States. As the second largest state in the country, this of course didn’t mean we could stop paying attention. But with a cooling market, it’s California’s time in the spotlight.

But something else interesting is happening Texas: It’s becoming a somewhat unlikely pioneer for renewable energy, and it’s time to start paying attention. The state has added more wind power to its energy portfolio than any other—since April, it’s accounted for 16 percent of the state’s electrical generating power, and it’s not stopping with wind. Per the Wall Street Journal:

Now Texas is anticipating a huge surge in solar power. State officials say wind and solar are almost certain to play a significant and growing role in the state’s energy future when federal subsidies decline in coming years.

The state’s grid operator, ERCOT, expects explosive growth in solar. One analysis suggested the recent extension of the federal solar tax credit could lead to as much as 19,000 megawatts of solar capacity being built within 15 years, up from roughly 500 megawatts today. Texas is poised to vault from 10th place among states in solar capacity to second in the next five years, behind only California, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

I wrote in July about how solar on the whole is set for tremendous growth, due in part to an extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit. With its open market, deregulated energy sector and locked-in government subsidies, Texas is primed for an explosion in solar.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Texas has long been a fossil fuel state, but as we saw earlier this year, the state’s housing market took a blow thanks in part to a considerable decline in crude oil prices. A boom in renewables will further disrupt fossil, but with new industry comes new jobs, new revenue and benefit for a local housing market. We’ll be paying close attention.

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Posted: September 30, 2016 by Anthony Wright Filed under: energy, green, solar