Everything is bigger in Texas — including our energy industry!
Besides the fact that our state is larger than some countries (not to brag), Texas also uses and creates lots of energy. In fact, the Lone Star State is the number one producer of electricity in the nation, nearly twice the amount as Florida in second place.1 There’s a reason we’re the only state with its own electricity grid.
With that demand comes lots of responsibility. However, the Texas renewable energy industry has shown up and delivered on its promises — and then some! But we’ve still got lots of work to do going into 2021 and beyond.
Here are some quick facts from 2020 about the state of renewable energy in Texas — along with a look into what’s on the horizon (and why you should care).
1. Texas Renewables Continue to Climb as Coal Declines
Coal is out. Renewables are in! Year over year, coal has experienced a gradual decline in power since the 1980s but has dropped significantly in popularity within the last decade. Currently, coal barely edges out renewables in production in Texas, but experts say that won’t always be the case.
The U.S. Energy Department estimates that coal production will continue to decline, dropping to levels last seen 80 years ago.2 Meanwhile, renewables like wind and solar will continue to grow at unprecedented levels.
2. Texas Provides Nearly 30% of All U.S. Wind-Powered Electricity
With approximately 13,000 wind turbines whirling away across the state, Texas is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to wind power generation. Along with solar, wind is the fastest-growing power source in the United States — and Texas is at the forefront of that transformation.3
3. Texas Wind has Produced More Electricity than Texas Nuclear since 2014
Not even nuclear energy can surpass Texas’s wind power. With the steady increase in wind generation, the state has produced more energy from the wind than it has from splitting atoms, despite that being one of the most efficient ways to create electricity.
4. The Price of Texas Solar has Dropped 38% Over the Last 5 Years
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the price of solar power generation has dropped nearly 40% from five years ago.4 Thanks to government subsidies, the support of renewables over fossil fuels, and the increase in demand, solar has become a star player in the arena of power generation.
5. Texas Solar Currently Ranks 4th in the Nation
West Texas gets lots of sunlight, making it the prime location for utility-scale solar farms, like Chariot Energy’s Oberon. According to SEIA, the state currently ranks 4th in the nation for solar power generation.4
We’re close to number one — but we’re not quite there. Hopefully, though, with the addition of Oberon and other big solar projects, Texas will climb the ranks to lead the nation in creating electricity from solar power just like it has for years with wind power.
6. Texas Solar Powers Hundreds of Thousands of Homes
The SEIA reports that Texas has enough solar power to provide electricity to more than 600,000 homes.4 That level of energy generation will only continue to grow in 2021! We can’t wait for the day when it surpasses a million homes.
7. Biomass is Small but Mighty
Historically, biomass referred to the burning of wood to make electricity. Today, however, it encompasses an array of techniques, including extracting fuel from corn and other types of plants.
The biofuels industry in Texas is small — representing less than half a percent — but nevertheless contributes approximately 400 million gallons of ethanol per year and 375 million gallons of biodiesel.1 It’s not exactly the same as wind or solar, but it nevertheless curbs the need for fossil fuels as an energy source, which further diversifies the energy mix.
8. Hydropower is Limited but not Nonexistent
Texas is great for wind, but rather limited when it comes to hydropower. That contribution equates to less than half a percentile for the entire energy mix of the state.1 t’s most often utilized in times of peak demand, like the summer when air conditioners eat electricity like candy.
What to Expect from Renewables in 2021
You will hear good news about wind and solar. Wind usually hogs most of the media limelight, and for good reason, since 2020 was a record-breaking year for wind. Per the Energy Information Administration, Texas wind set an all-time record this year, as wind generation contributed to more than half (half!) of hourly electricity demand on May 2, 2020.5
Don’t forget about solar. According to the SEIA, Texas is on track to become the national leader in solar energy generation with more than 4 GW of capacity to be installed in the next five years.4
Biomass and hydropower are still great assets and are essential to Texas’s diversity in its renewable energy profile. Just don’t expect any massive growth that wind and solar are currently experiencing.
We can’t forget about you, dear reader! You can be a part of this transition to cleaner energy sources. When you sign up on an all-solar plan from Chariot, you will be a part of something bigger than yourself. We’ve got plans for people with solar panels — and those without!
Head on over to our plans page to check out our rates in your area. We’ve got big ideas in store for 2021, and we want you to be a part of them!