Save Texas Renewables

Bills in Texas Legislature could grind solar and wind energy development to a halt

Lucas Faria | Public Domain

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Given that momentum for wind and solar is building, and the technology we need to transition away from polluting fossil fuels is better and cheaper than ever, you would think our state decision-makers would be doubling down on our clean energy programs, and figuring out how to take advantage of new federal incentives to deliver more clean renewable energy to our homes.

Instead, some of our lawmakers are pushing a package of bills that could grind renewable energy development in Texas to a halt. Their proposals include a cap on how much renewable energy the state can produce (HB 4836), a new transmission fee (SB 1287) and “ancillary services” fees (SB 7), requiring renewable companies to subsidize the construction of new fossil fuel plants (SB 2015), eliminate any remaining state tax credits for renewables (SB 2014), and one proposal that could fundamentally change how electricity is bought and sold in Texas (SB 6). 

The result? Renewable energy development in Texas could grind to a halt. That would mean more air pollution threatening our health and higher electric bills.

Renewable energy is delivering results for Texas

The fact is our clean energy programs are working. Texas has more than tripled the amount of wind and solar generated in the last 10 years, and renewable energy now accounts for over 31% of electricity sales on the Texas grid. And clean energy has never been cheaper. For example, the price of solar energy dropped 89% between 2009 and 2019.

That’s resulted in huge benefits for Texas’ environment and saved consumers money. Between 2010 and August 2022, renewable energy in ERCOT helped:

  • Save 244 billion gallons of water, critical for our often drought-plagued state
  • Avoid 416,000 tons of deadly sulfur dioxide emissions and 318,000 tons of smog-forming nitrogen dioxide pollution being pumped into the air, saving between $4.7 and $48.4 billion in healthcare costs for impacted Texans
  • Prevent the release of 558 million tons of global-warming pollution 
  • Save consumers $27.8 billion on their electric bills

Wind and solar have also helped keep the lights on, often “bailing out” the electric grid when demand surges. 

Cleaner, cheaper, more reliable solutions to strengthen the grid

We need more clean energy, not less. More wind and solar energy, more battery storage, more energy efficiency, and more interconnection with the national grid will strengthen our electric grid and protect consumers and the environment.

A plan to win

We stopped a similar anti-renewable energy plan in the Texas Legislature in 2021 and we can do it again. Texans’ overwhelmingly support more investment in clean energy. A recent poll by the University of Houston found that “64% of Texans favor expanding U.S. reliance on solar power plants, 59% favor reliance on geothermal plants and 57% favor reliance on wind turbine farms. In comparison, 42% favored increasing reliance on nuclear power plants and natural gas-fired power plants.”

And so do many legislators, including rural Republicans attracted by the economic development renewable energy is bringing to their districts as well as urban Democrats concerned about the environment and consumer costs. 

We’re working to mobilize public support across the state to show supportive democrats in Houston, Dallas and Laredo that they need to stand up for renewables. With groups like Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation building support with lawmakers in more rural parts of the state, we’ve got a bi-partisan coalition working to defeat attacks on wind and solar power and instead focus on solutions for a cleaner, more reliable, more affordable electric grid. 

Together we can win if we:

  1. Get the truth out there. Some Texas lawmakers are still trying to sink renewables by blaming blackouts on solar and wind, when the reality is that most of the problem was at natural gas facilities. This will remove the smokescreen many decision-makers are using to hide their pro-natural gas agenda. 
  2. Emphasize the enormous benefits renewable energy is providing Texas, including by saving consumers billions of dollars
  3. Oppose any proposals that make renewable energy more expensive or blocks it altogether

Environment Texas has successfully advocated for clean energy for decades, including helping double the state’s renewable energy goal in 2005 and helping double the state’s energy efficiency goal in 2007. 

Please contact your legislators and urge them to vote against attacks on renewable energy. You can also get the word out to your friends and help support our campaign.

The nation is counting on us

As the national leader in renewable energy, Texas is playing a critical role in helping the United States fight climate change and air pollution. With some of the best wind and solar resources in the nation, our nation needs us to keep leading the transition to clean energy.  

If we stop these bills, we’ll protect the growth of wind and solar energy and battery storage and the state’s national leadership in renewable energy. We’ll save consumers billions of dollars and avoid millions of tons of pollution.


Luke Metzger

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.

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