Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Renewables Still on the Rise in Texas

Photo by Lizze Chen for KUT News.

Wind turbines provide a sustainable source of energy in that they don't emit carbon dioxide or require water.

Texas has lots of ambition. Some Texans strive to open the world’s largest convenience store. But of more interest to us is another goal: the state wants to have10,000 megawatts of the power in its portfolio come from renewable energy by 2025. And according a new report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state continues to well exceed that.

While the state first achieved the goal, known as the renewable portfolio standard, in 2009, green energy in the grid continues to grow. Thirteen percent more power on the state’s grid came from renewables in 2011 than it did in 2010. In all, renewables provided enough power for about 31,000 Texas homes last year. (The state grid supplies about 85 percent of the juice in Texas.)

The big winners? Solar and biomass. Solar energy production jumped up 153 percent from 2010 to 2011, while biomass went up 40 percent. In the middle? Wind, which went up fifteen percent. But it still accounts for the majority of renewable energy generation in Texas, which has the most wind energy in the nation (and is the fifth-highest producer of wind energy in the world). Wind provided 30.8 million of the 31.7 million megawatt hours of renewable energy in Texas last year. Fossil fuels still produced about 80 percent of energy in Texas last year.

The big loser? Hydro-electric generation, which went down a whopping 56 percent in 2011. ERCOT says that “due to the ongoing drought in most of the state, generation of hydroelectric power decreased by more than half.”

You can read the full report on ERCOT’s website.


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