House committee considers repeal of renewable energy law
Yesterday, the House State Affairs committee held a hearing to consider HB 2026 (Sanford), a bill which would repeal Texas' successful renewable electricity standard. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like the bill is going anywhere.
Yesterday, the House State Affairs committee held a hearing to consider HB 2026 (Sanford), a bill which would repeal Texas’ successful renewable electricity standard. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like the bill is going anywhere.
After the 1999 original renewable energy standard far surpassed expectations, the Legislature raised the goal in 2005 and set Texas on a path to achieve 18,000 megawatts of clean energy. According to a report by the Office of Governor Rick Perry, the law “resulted in one of the most effective and successful renewable energy markets in the nation – widely considered a model for the rest of the country.”
The Sanford bill comes amid an industry funded, nationwide campaign to repeal state renewable energy standards. In November, the conservative Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) proposed a model repeal law dubbed the “Electricity Freedom Act.”
We joined with the Association of Electric Companies of Texas in opposition to the bill. The only support was from the right-wing think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation. No industry testified in support.
My testimony centered on wind’s role in saving water amid Texas’ drought, one of the top issues at the Legislature right now. According to the State Water Plan, 7.5% of our water in 2060 will be used to cool power plants and the state will need to spend $2.3 billion on infrastructure to provide that water. During the peak of the drought, ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett warned that some 3000 MW of power might have to be taken off line if exceptional drought conditions persisted due to insufficient water for cooling. Meanwhile, wind power currently saves 6.5 billion gallons of water per year, enough to meet the 130,000 Texans.
The questions and comments from the committee members were all in opposition to the bill. It’s not over yet, but it doesn’t look like there’s appetite for messing with Texas’ renewable energy commitment.
Executive Director, Environment Texas
As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at three Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation, renewable energy and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.