This guest blog is by Jeff Clark, Executive Director of the Wind Coalition.
Today, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs's office published a report attacking renewable energy in Texas. This unbalanced, misinformed report is simply a restatement of the flawed talking points pushed by the anti-renewables lobby and ignores key information about renewable power and its benefits for Texas.
Texas' wind energy industry has now invested more than $26 billion in 56 counties Texas and now provides 10 percent of the state's electricity supply cleanly, reliably, cheaply, and without using water. As part of a technologically advanced grid, and generation mix, Texas wind is bringing a wide variety benefits to Texans, including:
Providing low-cost power and long-term pricing, a financial hedge against price of other fuels
Revitalizing rural economies and providing much-needed capital investments to boost tax rolls
Creating jobs in several sectors Including development, manufacturing, construction, operations, and maintenance
Providing greater energy independence from imported fuels
Supporting agriculture by providing payments to farmers and ranchers, keeping them on their land
Using no water to make electricity, saving more than 7.8 billion gallons of water a year
Protecting clean air and water, making environmental compliance achievable
The wind power installed in Texas will avoid 23.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions this year, the equivalent of taking 4,075,000 cars off the road.
With regard to subsidies, governments at the state and federal level have long used policy to support energy development as vital to our national security. Just a few years ago, the Comptroller's own report (The Energy Report – 2008) estimated federal subsidies for energy with wind receiving 3.4 percent of 2006 support.
The office, in the same report, presented data showing that the oil and gas industry in Texas received 99.6 percent of state and local incentives. Wind's competitors are still heavily, and permanently subsidized in the tax code.
With wind energy's economic contributions to the state and the incredible savings it brings consumers, the Comptroller should support Texas energy development instead of promoting continued reliance on out-of-state fuels. What's wrong with letting Texas supply our power needs and reap the economic benefits in the process? Why should Texas rely on other states when Texas energies, including wind, solar, and natural gas, can get the job done?
Texas can power Texas affordably, cleanly, reliably, and securely. The public supports diverse, cleaner energy for Texas because they know that the energy security and fiscal health of our state depend greatly on a diverse, reliable, affordable, and abundant energy supply. I wish our Comptroller did.
The Comptroller's report and message ignores the facts and pushes Texas further from those goals.