Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Project Development, Solar, Wind Power

Texas to Hit Renewable Energy Goal Early

Texas is expected to meet its renewable energy goals for 2009 three-years ahead of schedule by sharply increasing the use of renewable energy to generate electricity, according to the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Developers have added 1,190 MW of power on-line since the 1999 electric restructuring law was passed, which required electric utilities to add 2,000 MW of renewable generating capacity to the state’s energy portfolio by 2009.

Projects to get an additional 486 MW on-line are either under construction or have been officially announced, and transmission agreements have been completed for another 720 MW. In Texas, wind power currently accounts for 96 percent of renewable generating capacity added since 1999. At this time most wind generators are located in an area of west Texas comprising Crane, Crockett, Pecos and Upton counties. Most of the new and planned projects are in a corridor about 100 miles wide along I-20 from Abilene to west of Odessa. Approximately three percent of the state’s total electric generating capacity comes from renewable energy. In Texas, a MW provides enough electricity for a year to power three to four hundred homes. Developers are expected to push hard to get new projects on-line by Dec. 31 because federal renewable energy tax incentives expire at the end of this year. The current state law encourages the construction of renewable energy projects, reduces air pollution from fossil fuel generation and responds to Texans’ willingness to pay more for clean energy. However, a key issue in expanding the use of renewable energy from West Texas is the ability of the transmission system to move power from generation sources to customers at a reasonable cost.