Green energy report: Where does Texas rank in solar, wind and nuclear energy?

Weather

NASA.gov – Wind turbines in West Texas | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As the push for green energy solutions grows, more states are investing in environmentally-friendly technologies to meet energy demands. So who comes in on top?

Here’s an in-depth look at where Texas ranks in wind, solar and nuclear energy production.

Wind Energy

Texas is #1

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production, putting out over 30 gigawatts in wind power each year. With 161 wind projects (farms) and 41 wind-related manufacturing facilities, it is estimated that wind energy brings ~25,000 jobs and ~$53 billion in capital investment to the Lone Star State.

Turbines represent wind farms, gadgets represent manufacturing facility.
SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association

IN-DEPTH: In 2019, Texas produced enough wind energy to offset 49 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel power plants (equivalent to the emissions from 10.5 million cars) and save 24 billion gallons of water.

Solar Energy

Texas is #2

California leads the pack (by a large margin) in solar energy production with Texas coming in second.

As of last year (2020), Texas has 80 manufacturing sites, 195 installers/developers and 200 other solar energy sites. State investment comes in over $8 million providing over 10,200 jobs.

IN-DEPTH: Despite a stigma of being ‘expensive’, solar energy prices have dropped 45% over the past five years with the trend projected to continue – more than 4 gigawatts of solar energy capacity is expected to be installed in Texas over the next five years.

Nuclear Energy

Texas is #27

Nuclear power makes up ~20% of the total electricity generation in the U.S. every year but less than 10% of Texas’ total electricity source (the third lowest among states who produce nuclear energy).

The state has two nuclear power plants — South Texas Project and Comanche Peak Power Plant — both with twin reactors. These two facilities employ more than 2,200 people with an estimated worth of $140 million.

Nuclear energy facilities in Texas.
SOURCE: Nuclear Energy Institute

IN-DEPTH: Nuclear plants in Texas generate 41 million megawatts of electricity a year, enough to power 2.9 million households.

Overall energy production

According to ChooseEnergy.com, Texas leads all 50 states in total energy production (all-forms: coal, natural gas, solar, energy, wind, biomass, nuclear, etc.)

Source: ChooseEnergy.com/data-center/

Texas’ energy by source

Natural gas continues to be the main source of electricity generation in Texas (+53%) followed by coal (~19%), wind (~17%) and nuclear (~8.5%).

Texas’ electricity sources (displayed by percentages) | SOURCE: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Why is green energy important?

Compared to traditional electricity generation sources, green-energy solutions emit far less emissions (specifically, carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere. This helps curb the ‘greenhouse gas effect’, proven to perpetuate climate change.

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