Smart regulations credited with rapid growth of wind, falling consumer costs, opportunities for job-seekers, farmers and ranchers
Texas produces more wind energy than almost any country in the world and ranks first in the nation in wind-related jobs, installed wind capacity and projects under construction, according to a new report from the Southern Legislative Conference.
The dominance of the Lone Star State is a “culmination of strategic policy decisions, a favorable transmission backdrop and a natural abundance of wind resources,” according to the report.
“My hat is off to lawmakers and policy leaders who understand the wind energy industry is a revving economic engine that is firing on all cylinders – driving jobs and investment in Texas – and a major force in lowering costs for the energy consumer,” said Jeffrey Clark, president of The Wind Coalition. “We must continue to harness the power of this abundant natural resource to drive investment, lower costs for large and small consumers alike, and create even more jobs and opportunities right here in Texas.”
According to the report, the wind industry in Texas has “fostered robust economic growth” – creating up to 23,000 total jobs with a total capital investment of $38 billion in 2016. Wind energy supports the state’s thriving manufacturing sector, provides land lease payments to property owners and contributes to low residential and industrial power rates, the report found.
Texas’ position as the nation’s wind energy jobs leader is also driving changes in education with many technical and four-year colleges now offering degrees and certificates related to the wind industry. These include turbine service technicians, wind energy project managers, engineers and operations managers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas employs 1,440 wind turbine service technicians, with the average technician making approximately $53,650 annually.
Finally, consumers enjoy lower costs with the growth of this energy industry with residential power rates approximately 10 percent lower than the national average and industrial power rates approximately 20 percent lower than the national average.
The report also found:
- Texas is home to 41 manufacturing facilities that contribute to the wind energy supply chain.
- The state is home to 11,898 turbines, generating enough energy to power approximately 5.3 million homes.
- Texas ranked 2nd in the nation for the number of facilities that manufacture components for wind turbines.
- The unique wind patterns of the Texas Gulf Coast offer a significant advantages as wind there blows furiously during the middle of the day, just as energy consumption peaks.
- The Texas Public Utility Commission set a goal to have 10,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy installed by 2025. The state surpassed that goal 16 years early, in 2009, with an installed capacity of more than 10,069 MW at the time.
- Landowners benefit from the strong wind industry presence in Texas with annual land lease payments to landowners estimated to exceed $60 million, providing a boon to struggling farmers and ranchers.
- Texas’ dominance is a culmination of strategic policy decisions, a favorable transmission system and a natural abundance of wind resources.
The Wind Coalition is an advocate for windpower, solar energy, energy storage, and advanced power generation in the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Active in AR, KS, LA, MO, NE, NM, OK, and TX, The Wind Coalition supports the development of the vast wind energy resources of the Central United States. Learn more at http://www.windcoalition.org.
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The Wind Coalition
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