Green Patches Deep in the Heart of Texas

by Daniel Farber

March 28, 2016

The Texas AG’s office seems to do little else besides battle against EPA, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is in the vanguard of anti-environmentalism. Yet even in Texas there are some rays of hope. While Texas is attacking the Clean Power Plan, the city of Houston is leading a coalition of cities defending it.

Other cities are taking action for non-environmental reasons. The city of Georgetown, Texas, for instance, has announced plans to become 100 percent renewable. Lest there be any misunderstanding, the major hastens to explain that “environmental zealots have not taken over our city council. . . Our move to wind and solar is chiefly a business decision based on cost and price stability.”

A similar move is taking place in Denton, Texas, while El Paso and San Antonio are phasing out coal. (See here for more details.) Energy efficiency is another area where Texas does well, with a recent study putting Houston, Dallas and San Antonio in the top twenty U.S. cities for energy efficiency, with El Paso and Fort Worth not far behind.

People are often surprised to learn that Texas is the national leader in wind power, with the twice the generating capacity of any other state. On one notable night last December, the state got 45 oercent of its power from wind, though the year-round average was only about 10 percent. Texas was one of the first states to adopt a renewable portfolio standard and has invested heavily in transmission capacity for wind. Coal is only 28 percent of the generation mix, a bit more than nuclear and wind combined, with almost half its energy produced by natural gas.

None of this is to deny that the general political atmosphere in Texas remains anti-environmental. Maybe that will shift as climate change begins to have a greater impact there. As a coastal state, Texas will be impacted by sea level rise, which will amplify current storms risks in places like Houston, while it will also suffer from growing temperatures and up to 4500 additional heat-related deaths per year. In the meantime, however, it’s good to know that there are actually some positive developments already taking place in the Lone Star State.

Cross-posted at LegalPlanet.

Tagged as: Texas
Be the first to comment on this entry.
We ask for your email address so that we may follow up with you, ask you to clarify your comment in some way, or perhaps alert you to someone else's response. Only the name you supply and your comment will be displayed on the site to the public. Our blog is a forum for the exchange of ideas, and we hope to foster intelligent, interesting and respectful discussion. We do not apply an ideological screen, however, we reserve the right to remove blog posts we deem inappropriate for any reason, but particularly for language that we deem to be in the nature of a personal attack or otherwise offensive. If we remove a comment you've posted, and you want to know why, ask us (info@progressivereform.org) and we will tell you. If you see a post you regard as offensive, please let us know.

Also from Daniel Farber

Daniel A. Farber is the Sho Sato Professor of Law and Director of the California Center for Environmental Law and Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Two Years and Counting: A Historical Perspective

Farber | Dec 06, 2018 | Environmental Policy

Two Years and Counting: Trump at Mid-Term

Farber | Dec 03, 2018 | Environmental Policy

States Rally Around Renewables

Farber | Oct 29, 2018 | Energy

Modernizing the Grid

Farber | Oct 24, 2018 | Energy

Jumping the Fence Line, Embracing the Grid

Farber | Oct 23, 2018 | Energy

The Center for Progressive Reform

2021 L St NW, #101-330
Washington, DC. 20036
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015