Earlier today, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 931 by Senator Troy Fraser. The bill would end the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and would end the Texas Public Utility Commission’s discretionary authority under the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) program. A link to the bill is available here.
Jeff Clark, Executive Director of The Wind Coalition released the following statement in response:
Senate Bill 931 represents a step backward for the State of Texas and its “all of the above” energy strategy. Repealing the RPS is harmful to the investors who committed capital to our state and, because it focuses solely on killing incentives for wind and solar power, it sends the misguided message that Texas will continue to support its energy industries, just not it’s renewable ones. Texas is an international renewable energy leader because of sound state policies. We should celebrate our success, not impede it.
Repealing the Texas Public Utility Commission’s discretionary CREZ authority before that visionary energy infrastructure project is complete in the Texas Panhandle denies ratepayers the full benefit of their investment. We stop more than 2,000 MW short of the transmission capacity envisioned when CREZ was created, leaving generators without access to transmission and denying rural communities billions in additional investment and job creation. (CREZ Documents)
As more and more of the world’s leading businesses call for access to renewable power, this signal from the legislature hurts not just this state’s renewable energy industries but all of our economic development and industry recruiting efforts. And, it hurts Texas’ efforts to move toward energy independence, keeping our state addicted to imported fuels instead of becoming more reliant upon its own energy resources.
Texas current wind energy fleet is lowering Texas electric bills by more than $950 million each year, saving 13 billion gallons of water annually, dramatically growing local tax rolls, adding $40 million each year to farm and ranch incomes, and bringing more than $40 billion in investment to rural Texas.
There is no compelling public policy purpose achieved by the passage of this bill but there are numerous reasons to reject it. Our industry is a bi-partisan Texas success story and we are hopefully confident that the pro-business members of the Texas House will give this bill careful consideration and then reject it as unnecessary and harmful.
Please contact Jeff Clark at Jeff@WindCoalition.org for additional information.