Landmark Texas Renewable Energy Law Target of Industry-Backed Repeal Effort

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Environment Texas

AUSTIN – Today, Rep. Scott Sanford introduced HB 2026 to repeal Texas’ renewable electricity standard, which is credited with making Texas the national leader in wind power. The move 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.”

“Rep. Sanford’s bill doesn’t make any sense,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “Renewable energy has been a huge success story in Texas. We shouldn’t take the wind out of the sails of an industry that’s creating jobs, reducing pollution and saving water.”

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.”

 “Texas is a world leader in wind energy,” continued Metzger. “Wind energy has brought new jobs, new revenue for land-owners, a cleaner environment, and lower electricity prices to Texas. Texas’ leadership in wind energy is no accident – it is the result of policies such as the state’s Renewable Electricity Standard. Some, however, are now calling for Texas to

reverse its commitment to wind energy because wind is making wholesale electricity too cheap – reducing the financial incentive to build new power plants. Texas should continue to build upon its track record of leadership in wind energy –

tapping wind’s potential to clean our air, save money for consumers, and contribute to a reliable electric grid”.

Background (more on attached)

Wind energy protects the environment and consumers.

• Cleaner air. Wind energy in Texas averts more than 16,000 tons of emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, nearly 23,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 17 million tons of carbon dioxide from the state’s power sector each year – helping

Texans to breathe easier.

• Saving water. Wind energy uses no water, helping drought-plagued Texas to save 6.5 billion gallons per year, enough to serve the domestic water needs of 130,000 people.

• Lower electricity prices. Texas’ wind boom has coincided with a 26 percent decline in electricity prices over the past four years. A 2012 report by the Brattle Group found that wind energy had reduced wholesale power prices in West Texas.

Wind energy contributes to a stable electric grid.

• Greater fuel diversity. Wind energy reduces Texas’ dependence on fossil fuels such as natural gas, which are highly volatile in price.

• Reduced water dependence. Because wind energy uses no water, Texans have less reason to worry about the possibility of power plants shutting down due to drought.

• Helping out in a crisis. In 2011, when cold temperatures forced the shutdown of numerous fossil fuel-fired power plants, Texas’ wind turbines continued to generate electricity, helping to keep the lights on.