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Oct 16, 2020

Economic Study of Texas Renewables Investment Highlights Massive Benefit to Rural Communities

Energy and economic analysts IdeaSmiths recently released The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy in Rural Texas – a report commissioned by Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation and Powering Texas – which examined the economic development, tax, and landowner impacts of utility scale renewable energy development in Texas.

The findings of the research showed that the financial impacts of these developments are positive, substantial, and growing. Some key findings include:

  • If all projects with interconnection agreements are built, existing and planned utility-scale wind and solar projects will pay between $8.1 billion and $10 billion in total tax revenue over their lifetimes. 
  • Existing utility-scale solar and wind projects in Texas will pay Texas landowners between $4.8 billion and $7.3 billion over the lifetime of the projects. 
  • If all of the projects with signed interconnection queues are built, Texas landowners will directly receive between $8 billion and $13.1 billion over the existing and planned project lifetimes. 
  • Of these taxes and landowner payments, over 70% are paid to rural counties. 
  • A county in Texas could expect to receive between $9.4 million and $13.1 million in lifetime taxes (including school taxes) for a 100 MW solar project located in its boundaries and between $16.8 million and $20.3 million for a 100 MW wind project. 
  • IdeaSmiths estimates that a Texas landowner could expect to collect between $16.2 and $33 million in payments over the lifetime of a 100 MW wind farm, depending on length of contract and location in the state. 
  • IdeaSmiths estimate that a Texas landowner could expect to collect between $5.2 and $27.7 million in payments over the lifetime of a 100 MW solar farm, depending on length of contract and location in the state.
  • Residents and community leaders in rural areas indicated that counties with renewable energy projects tend to see them as good neighbors.  
  • Elected county leaders look favorably on renewable energy projects for the planning stability that comes with having confidence in consistent longterm revenue streams. 
  • Even residents that do not have wind turbines or solar panels benefit from their contribution to the local economy.

For many Texas communities, renewable energy development represents an unparalleled economic opportunity. Many, especially agriculture producing areas, have a limited property tax (ad valorem) base on which to rely for school and local government funding. In an already-underfunded region, utility-scale renewable power development brings much needed infusions of tax revenue and landowner income, bringing local revenues up to meet existing needs without creating new burdens on infrastructure, housing supplies, school systems, or social services.

The full study is available on the IdeaSmiths website at: https://www.ideasmiths.net/reports-publications/.