Photo: Austin Energy

A recent analysis by PV Magazine has revealed that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (which operates most of the state’s electric grid) has had applications for an additional 165 GWac of solar energy to be built in Texas. While Texas has been the epicenter of the fossil fuel industry it also has the potential to move away from coal entirely and expand its role as a leader in renewable energy. Additionally, Texas could also soon be home to the world’s largest battery for renewable energy. As Bloomberg reported, the 495-megawatt storage system would be built in tandem with a solar farm of the same size in Borden County, TX and would be a big step to proving naysayers of renewable energy feasibility wrong.

More impressive still is that while President Trump’s solar tariffs have cost tens of thousands of solar jobs throughout the nation, Texas is a state that has seen its solar jobs grow despite the trade policy uncertainty. The Houston Chronicle explained that nearly 10,000 Texans were working in the solar industry last year, an 8% gain from the previous year. It’s also worth noting that last year, Georgetown, TX became one of the first U.S. cities to be powered by 100% renewable energy.

Why This Matters: In terms of renewable energy, Texas has been known for its wind power (and currently leads the nation in wind generation) but because of its resources has immense potential to become a leader in solar energy as well. However, this will take help from the state government and policies such as requiring solar panels on all new construction homes in the state (similar to what California did last year) could generate a ten-fold increase in solar capacity and drastically cut air pollution. It goes to show that even in a red state, the case for renewable energy is overwhelming. Not only is there money to be made in Texas’ renewable energy industry but since Texas is the largest energy producing state and also the largest energy consuming state in the nation, its switch to renewables would mean a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

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