November 27, 2018
The legacy of Texas’ innovative approach to renewable energy and its distribution should be considered a model for other states, a former technician at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory says.
Together with his successor as Texas governor, Rick Perry, and members of the state legislature over a period of years, George W. Bush helped draw up and execute plans that have helped the state become a leader in renewable energy technology — and in overall energy production.
Texas has for years been a national leader in wind-powered generation capacity with more than 21,450 megawatts, according to the federal Energy Information Agency.
Steven Haymes of the National Wind Technology Center, was working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the year 2000 just as Bill Clinton was preparing to leave the White House and Bush was president-elect.
At that time, “the DOE Wind Program manager asked our team at NREL to make a wind resource map of west Texas for the incoming president,” Haymes writes at Daily Camera.
“This map showed that Texas’s entire electric load could be met by wind energy.
“I do not know if Bush actually saw our map, but this helped set in motion events where in 2002, Texas passed electric utility deregulation legislation for consumers.
The state had set a Renewable Portfolio Standard in 1999, while Bush was governor, and in 2005 built upon that standard, mandating renewable electricity production of more than 5,000 MW by 2015 in state Senator Troy Fraser’s SB 20.
“In 2005, Texas’s Competitive Renewable Energy Zones legislation was passed, resulting in almost 3,600 miles of new high-voltage 345 kilo-volt transmission lines across the state, putting red Republican Texas years ahead of any other state in renewables, including blue Democratic California,” Haymes remembers.
“In Texas’s deregulated electric market, most consumers can choose who they buy electricity from.
“Consumers who live within Texas munis cannot make this choice though.
“With Texas’s CREZ high-voltage grid, abundant wind energy from unpopulated areas of Texas can be transmitted to population centers across the state.
“These lines now transmit solar-generated electricity, too,” and wind energy has grown to produce more electricity since 2014 than both the state’s nuclear power plants.
Haymes is now involved with Colorado’s efforts to greatly increase its renewables production and is recommending the Texas model
“We now have the opportunity for Colorado to achieve 100 percent renewables with electric utility deregulation and transmission line upgrades,” Haymes announced in an op-ed, calling on Colorado’s new governor to resist anti-renewable sentiment from major power providers.
“Governor-elect Polis, are you reading this?”