We don’t usually get a chance to stick our tongues out at the rest of the country (see Texas’ rankings in education, children without health insurance, etc.), except when it comes to renewable energy. In that case, we’re the U.S. leader.
This has made no impression on the Senate, which rejected a provision in the energy bill yesterday to require utilities to get 15 percent of their power from renewable sources like wind and solar. One utility, Dallas-based Luminant, was especially vociferous in lobbying against the renewable standard.
Currently, we get about four percent of our electricity from wind. We have already exceeded the mandate from the first renewable standard, set in 1999, and are 20 percent away from meeting 2015’s goal. This means that in eight years we have gone from no wind energy to almost 4,000 megawatts, which is more than enough to provide electricity for every home in Dallas and Collin counties. Plus, three of the five largest wind farms in the country are in Texas, and one of them — Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center near Abilene — is the biggest in the world.
One of the few genuine successes of electricity deregulation in Texas has been the growth in wind. It is too bad the Senate and companies like Luminant don’t realize that.