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May 20, 2013

Wind Coalition calls on Texas Legislature to Keep Texas’ Energy Supply Growing

The Texas Economic Development Act (known as Chapter 313 because of its placement in the Texas Tax Code) is one of the most important economic development tools ever devised by the Texas Legislature. It has been a key contributor in bringing economic activity to our state and, thanks to wind energy development, it has been of particular benefit to the rural communities of Texas

Wind energy is now a key part of the energy mix in Texas providing more than 9.2% of the state’s electric supply. As a hedge against the volatility of fuel prices, wind energy helps guarantee consumers, businesses, and manufacturers have long-term access to reliable, affordable, water-free, zero-emission energy.

This week, Texas lawmakers will vote to renew Chapter 313 when they consider House Bill 3390. The Wind Coalition urges them to support rural economic development and energy generation by opposing amendments that would reduce incentives for valuable wind and other renewable energy projects.

The Coalition also urges lawmakers to adopt amendments that will count all jobs created under the program. The current 313 statute doesn’t count all of the jobs that new wind developments produce. If all jobs count, let’s count all of the jobs.

Texas needs Chapter 313 to remain competitive with Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska – all of which have enacted incentives to attract investment.

Using the Chapter 313 program, Texas has attracted more than $24 billion in wind energy investments, which delivers:

  • Job Creation. More than 26,000 Texans work in fields connected with wind energy including construction, manufacturing, technical services, research and development, transportation, and export.
  • Energy from Texas. Texas can power Texas with our own natural gas, wind, and solar. These keep consumers’ energy expenditures here, growing Texas communities and helping to make us energy independent.
  • Affordable Power. Wind energy is one of the most affordable and sustainable sources of electricity. And, because there is no fuel price volatility, the price is permanent for consumers. According to the PUC, “Wind generation has had the impact of reducing wholesale and retail prices of electricity.”
  • Energy Created Using No Water. Texas faces a water crisis and our ability to generate electricity is being affected. Using wind saves scarce water resources and, with no emissions, helps Texas reduce pollution that increases industry environmental compliance costs and the cost of living in non-attainment areas.
  • Rural Economic Development. No program has been more effective in bringing economic development and investment to rural areas of our state. More than $24 billion has been invested in Texas communities by wind energy developers, including $15 billion in investments that were incentivized in part by Chapter 313.
  • Growing School District Tax Bases for the Long Term. School districts in Texas benefit from the substantial investment that wind energy brings to their communities. Wind projects have a life expectancy lasting 30 years or more. For taxpayers, this guarantees long term benefits for Texas’ economy.
  • Landowner Opportunities. Landowners receive lease payments for each turbine installed on their property. This revenue helps keep families, farmers, and ranchers on their land, particularly during a damaging drought. 95% of wind farm land can still be used for agriculture while harvesting wind.