Leadership Void on Clean Energy Filled by Texas Cities

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Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

AUSTINToday Environment Texas Research & Policy Center released Texas Torchbearers: Cities Leading the Way to a Clean Energy Future, a new report ranking Texas cities for their efforts in clean energy production, energy efficiency, and environmental design. The report found that while Texas was an early leader on clean energy policies in the 90s and early 2000s, the state is today falling behind many others in clean energy. The report finds that Texas cities are stepping up to fill this void, making major advances in clean energy.

“Cities in Texas are filling the void left by the state on clean energy policies” said Rachel Stone, Clean Energy Attorney with Environment Texas.

The report ranks cities based on their residential building codes, utility-supported solar, municipal purchasing of renewable energy, green building certifications for public buildings, and availability of electric vehicle recharge stations. Austin took the lead, with San Antonio and Houston tying for second place. 

“Houston is a leader in energy efficiency, renewable energy and green buildings,” said Houston Mayor Annise Parker. “We also know how important it is to lead by example, which is why we’re the largest purchaser of renewable energy in the nation. But we must continue to improve. We won’t stop until we’re number one in the state.”

“San Antonio has demonstrated that clean energy and good-paying jobs can go hand in hand,” said San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. “This report is gratifying, but we’re not stopping at No. 2. We remain committed to becoming one of the most sustainable communities in the country.”

Environment Texas urged the state to follow the lead of the cities and adopted clean energy policies. For example, the State Energy Conservation Office is currently considering adoption of model standards for energy efficiency in new residential buildings. Austin and twenty other Texas cities have adopted the code as have the states of Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.

“There’s a lot of good news here for Texans,” concluded Stone. “In spite of the lack of leadership at the state level, cities can achieve a lot of local benefits by helping citizens take advantage of the wind and solar power available in the state, providing electric recharge stations, and ensuring buildings are built to their most efficient and greenest capacity. One city at a time, we can get more clean energy jobs in Texas, reduce energy costs and emissions, and see a cleaner future.”

The report ranked Dallas 4th and El Paso 5th, followed by Plano, Arlington, Fort Worth, Laredo and Corpus Christi at 10th place.