Jeff Clark – President, Advanced Power Alliance
Published in Austin Business Journal on February 7, 2019
Texas is a leader in clean energy with rapidly growing wind and solar energy sectors. Our state leads the nation in wind energy generation, and recent cost-declines in solar are leading to tremendous growth. The success of wind and solar in Texas is the result of smart policies championed by Texas leadership that focused on diversifying our electricity supply for the future and current ERCOT market design.
A recent report by Austin-based economic consultants TXP and IdeaSmiths details the vast economic and cost saving benefits of Texas wind and solar power. The two industries generated nearly $1 billion in direct economic impact in the state last year alone. Wind and solar also accounted for $210.4 million in local government tax revenue in 2017, up from $115.4 million in 2013.
The economic benefits of the two industries are not limited to tax revenues, though those funds certainly help the state’s rural communities provide the essential services their residents rely upon such as schools, libraries, hospitals, roads and other local projects.
Over 33,000 Texas jobs are now supported by the wind and solar industries, in sectors ranging from manufacturing and installation to development and infrastructure support. These jobs directly accounted for at least $2 billion in annual wages last year, keeping energy dollars local for the benefit of our communities and state.
Clean energy is an economic development tool for Texas, attracting investments from other industries, including leading manufacturers and technology providers, and other companies that are making commitments to power their operations with clean Texas renewable energy.
Bringing well-paying jobs and new tax revenue to rural communities is a no brainer. However, it’s not just Texans in rural communities that benefit from wind and solar development.
Texas electricity customers as a whole saved $5.7 billion from 2010 to 2017 compared to what they would have paid had wind and solar not been a component of the ERCOT generation portfolio. That total includes $855.9 million in cost-savings for Texas ratepayers in 2017 alone.
And renewables like wind and solar partner well with our state’s abundant natural gas resources. By working in a complementary manner, these homegrown generation resources are delivering Texas consumers electricity that is cleaner, affordable and reliable.
Wind and solar power are good for our grid, good for consumers and good for our Texas economy. In a state that prides itself on economic competitiveness and serving as a model for the rest of the country, we can be proud that our electricity market’s competitiveness and innovation are the envy of the world. The Texas Legislature has an opportunity this session to build on that momentum by staying the course on electricity policy and current ERCOT market design. These successful policies have made Texas a clean energy pioneer, and will keep the Lone Star State well-positioned to continue to lead the nation in clean energy development in the years ahead.