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Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

Featured Focus:  big victory for consumers and for the environment was achieved in a recent decision by the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas to authorize 18,456 megawatts of transmission lines to transport wind energy from rural West Texas to highly-populated Texas cities.

A recent study put together by Public Citizen Texas consultants demonstrates that wind power provides the following benefits to Texans (See the brochure that summarizes the study results here.):

  • Reduces Costs: Wind has zero fuel cost, and many sources show that adding wind power to the grid will lower wholesale electricity and natural gas prices.
  • Creates Jobs: Texas is the #1 wind market in America, and this industry has created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, transportation, operations, service, research, and training across the state. (See a map of wind economic activity here)
  • Reduces Pollution: With wind turbines supplying energy, other power plants reduce their output. Every major Texas city has smog and air pollution problems, but by adding wind, Texas will make significant improvements in metropolitan air quality by reducing NOx and CO2 emissions from power plants.

Nolan County Case Study (full report):

Nolan County, Texas has become a remarkable example of how quickly and effectively renewable energy development can revitalize rural America. Starting with a single wind project in 2001, this single county’s 2,500 MW now outpaces the total wind capacity of any other states and all but 5 countries. An assessment of benefits based on extensive field surveys reveals:

  • 1,124 direct wind jobs with a payroll of $45 million per year
  • Landowner royalties of $12.3 million per year
  • Dramatic increase in property tax base to $2.4 billion in 2008
  • Paid local school and property taxes of $14.5 million in 2007
  • Supports $24 million in new school construction (2004-2010)

There is an extraordinary opportunity for the Nolan County success story to be replicated elsewhere among Texas’ 254 counties. Renewable energy-rich communities well positioned to benefit include Amarillo-Pampa, Lubbock-Plainview, San Angelo-McCamey, Laredo-Corpus Christi as well as additional growth in Abilene-Sweetwater. Now that the PUC has decided to expand transmission lines for wind energy, these economic opportunities can begin to be realized across Texas.

 

Hot Issues

» Renewable Energy- Wind Power

» The Case Against Coal- The Rush To Build New Coal Plants In Texas

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