Texas has historically been associated with bluebonnets, cowboy boots and oil derricks. But many insiders in the Texas energy industry believe those stereotypes of the Lone Star State will soon be much greener. Visions of solar farms and wind turbines will soon be dancing in the heads of Texans and out-of-staters alike.
As you’ll see below, as the cost of generating green energy decreases, the use of renewable energy increases. Therefore, understanding how green energy works in Texas is increasingly important in our everyday lives. Here’s how green energy in Texas works and how you can get involved.
Understanding the Green Energy Landscape in Texas
As the old saying goes, “Everything is bigger in Texas” – and energy is no exception.
Texas both consumes and produces more energy than any other state in the U.S. This makes us the most vital contributor to the nation’s overall transition to cleaner energy sources.
Coal-fired power plants are shutting down across the state. Last year, the shutdown of three Texas coal plants left a gaping 4,000-megawatt hole in the grid — enough electricity to power at least 800,000 homes. Other energy sources, including renewable and natural gas, have rushed to fill its place and stake their claim in the marketplace. With this evolution occurring in real time, Retail Electricity Providers (REPs) and energy generators must take advantage of every opportunity to diversify the state’s energy grid.
Currently, here’s how Texas generates its electricity:
- 45.5% is generated by natural gas.
- 22.2% is generated by coal.
- 21.2% is generated by renewables.
- 10.2% is generated by nuclear.
Let’s take a closer look at that 21.2% — because we think it will only get bigger.
Electricity Generation from Wind in Texas
Most of Texas’ green electricity comes from wind. In fact, Texas is the top producer of wind-powered electricity in the nation. The state generated about a quarter of the U.S.’s total wind output in 2018, 2017, and 2016. According to the Department of Energy, most of this is generated by wind farms in West and North Texas. Both wind and solar receive federal tax subsidies, but not for long, making both industries competitive and will likely alter market prices of both.
Electricity Generation from Solar in Texas
Currently, Solar constitutes a small portion of the total energy produced in Texas – less than 1 percent.
However, despite that seemingly small place among energy greats like natural gas and wind, Texas is slated to install 4,266 megawatts of solar power in the next five years. This would place the state behind only California and Florida as the third fastest-growing producer of solar energy. In addition, continued tax credits for commercial energy producers will help keep the price of solar relatively low compared to other renewable energy sources.
Electricity Generation from All Other Alternatives in Texas
Biomass and hydroelectric represent only a sliver of the state’s electricity generation — each at a half of a percent.
The biofuels industry is tiny but mighty with great potential for future development due to strong agricultural and forestry industries in Texas. The state currently has four biofuel plants in North Texas. These plants can provide approximately 400 million gallons of ethanol annually.
Hydroelectric, on the other hand, has limited potential due to the relatively flat terrain in Texas. While the sloping hills of Central Texas are beautiful to look at, they don’t translate well for hydropower generation.
And although geothermal has been used on a smaller scale to heat and cool homes and schools, which reduces the need for electricity and lessens the demand on the grid, it has not been activated on a larger scale.
Get Involved in Texas’ Clean Energy Transition
When you choose to purchase a renewable energy plan, you’re telling the Texas energy industry that you want the electricity powering your home to come from wind, solar, or other green energy sources.
In turn, the demand for renewable energy goes up, which means more renewable energy is produced and added to the state’s energy grid. This way, you’re voting with your dollars, indicating to the state that consumers like you want green power.
While you are purchasing 100% green energy, the electricity that powers your lights may not be all renewable. When you purchase electricity, that power then is added to the overall electric grid, resulting in a mix of electricity sources. So, even though your house or business may not be powered by “all renewables,” your investment in green energy does make a significant difference by:
- Supplementing the grid with green energy instead of fossil fuels
- Supporting the development of renewable energy in Texas
- Lowering greenhouse gas emissions
How Texas Green Electricity Providers Create a Cleaner Future
Traditionally, power providers would only provide the power — hence, their name.
Today, not only are power providers working with customers to supply electricity from the grid to their homes or businesses, but also some providers, including Chariot, are beginning to generatethe power that’s going to the grid.
Chariot Energy and its affiliated companies manufacture the solar panels, generate the electricity that’s added to the grid, and provide you with 100% solar electricity in your home and business. Not only are we investing in the demand for renewables and diversifying Texas’s energy portfolio, but we’re also building utility-scale solar farms across the state, heightening the state’s renewable energy infrastructure and propelling us all toward a cleaner, sustainable future.
What does this mean for you and green energy in Texas? We can offer clean solar power at prices competitive to traditional sources of power. No longer do you have to settle for fossil fuel power because you couldn’t afford to go green. Now, renewable energy plans can be just as cheap, if not cheaper, than traditional electricity plans in Texas.