AUSTIN (KXAN) — There’s a certain pride exhibited by Texans when it comes to living here. For example, Lone Star State denizens can be proud of the fact that there were more jobs created in 2022 in Texas than in any of the other 49 states.
Now, Texans who are working to save the planet take pride that Texas leads the country in the generation of renewable energy according to a report issued by the United States Energy Information Administration. Not California. Texas.
Wind energy is the biggest reason that Texas leads in the creation of sustainable energy. And, it likely won’t be too long before this state overtakes California in solar power.
Texas more than doubled what California produced in renewable energy last calendar year. The gap will only widen in the next few years as our state looks for continued increases in solar power harnessing.
The numbers? Texas created over 136,000 gigawatt-hours to California’s nearly 53,000 gigawatt-hours. Iowa (45,000+), Oklahoma (37,500) and Kansas (29,500+) were third, fourth, and fifth respectively. The state with the least creation? Kentucky with just 51 gigawatt-hours of energy created from solar and wind.
For context, one gigawatt has the capacity to power close to 750,000 homes.
Climate change activists point to solar and wind energy as reliable sources. The combination of nuclear, solar, and wind energy sources powered nearly 38% of the state’s power in 2021.
In a state known for its relentless heat in the summer, renewables help keep the power on during those all-too-familiar heat waves. In turn, those renewables, energy powered by the wind and sun, have little, if any, fuel cost. The same thing could be seen for the cold snaps that gripped the state in February 2021 and again in February 2023. Costs were kept down with renewable energy sources while the cost of coal and natural gas were higher.
Solar and wind energy renewables accounted for more than 20% of the United State’s carbon-free sources in 2022 with another 18+% coming from nuclear sources.
Texas also leads the country in states that generated the most carbon-free electricity. This is the total of nuclear, solar and wind. Here, over 180,000 gigawatt-hours were created. Illinois (124,000+)was a distant second.
So, why is this happening in a state where several are not concerned about human-caused climate change? Simple. As aforementioned, the cost of renewable energy from solar and wind development keeps costs down. Harnessing the energy from the sun (solar) and the wind cost very little.
Solar panels cost about $16,000 on average but could be as high as $35,000 on the highest end. In the long run, solar panels will save on energy costs.
Wind turbines are expensive both in cost and maintenance. However, the time it takes to offset the cost ranges from six months to a year, according to Semprius.
So, what’s to come for our state to continue the refrain “We’re Number One”? Looking ahead to 2030 the state has a target to cut at least 40% from 1990 levels in greenhouse gas emissions followed by a much larger goal to reach zero-net greenhouse gas emissions between 2040 and 2050. Goals that can be reached if we all do our part.