AUSTIN (KXAN) — There is a certain pride shown by Texans when it comes to living here. For example, residents of the Lone Star State can take pride in the fact that more jobs were created in Texas in 2022 than in any other 49 state.
Now, Texans who are working to save the planet are proud that Texas leads the country in renewable energy generation according to a report released by the United States Energy Information Administration. Not California. Texas.
Wind energy is the main reason Texas is a leader in creating sustainable energy. And it probably won’t be long before this state surpasses California in solar energy.
Texas leads the country in wind-focused renewable energy. Courtesy: Getty Images
Texas more than doubled California’s renewable energy generation last calendar year. The gap will only widen in the next few years as our state seeks continued increases in solar energy exploitation.
The numbers? Texas created more than 136,000 gigawatt-hours versus California’s nearly 53,000 gigawatt-hours. Iowa (45,000+), Oklahoma (37,500) and Kansas (29,500+) were third, fourth and fifth, respectively. The state with the least creation? Kentucky with just 51 gigawatt hours of energy created from solar and wind power.
Texas leads the country in the creation of renewable energy
For context, one gigawatt has the capacity to power nearly 750,000 homes.
Climate change activists point to solar and wind energy as reliable sources. The combination of nuclear, solar, and wind energy sources powered nearly 38 percent of the state’s energy in 2021.
Solar panels that harness the sun’s energy. Courtesy: Getty Images
In a state known for its relentless heat in the summer, renewable energy helps keep the energy going during those all-too-familiar heatwaves. In turn, renewables, energy powered by wind and the sun, have little or no fuel cost. The same thing was seen for the cold spells that gripped the state in February 2021 and again in February 2023. Costs have been contained with renewable energy sources while the cost of coal and natural gas has been higher.
Solar and wind renewables accounted for more than 20% of US carbon-free sources in 2022, with another 18+% coming from nuclear sources.
Texas also leads the country in states that have generated the most carbon-free electricity. That’s the total of nuclear, solar and wind. Over 180,000 gigawatt hours have been created here. Illinois (124,000+) was a distant second.
So why is this happening in a state where many aren’t concerned about man-made climate change? Simple. As mentioned earlier, the cost of renewable energy from solar and wind development keeps costs down. Exploiting the energy of the sun (solar) and wind costs very little.
Solar panels cost about $16,000 on average, but could go as high as $35,000 at the top end. In the long run, solar panels will save energy costs.
Wind turbines are expensive in both cost and maintenance. However, the time it takes to offset the cost ranges from six months to a year, according to Semprius.
So, what will happen to our state to continue the “We are number one” refrain? Looking to 2030, the state has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels, followed by a much larger goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions between 2040 and 2050. Goals that can be achieved if we all do our part.