HomeScience & EnvironmentTexas Leads in Renewable Energy, but Gas Softened the Recent Chill

Texas Leads in Renewable Energy, but Gas Softened the Recent Chill

So far, they’ve been right.

In areas of Texas where temperatures dipped the lowest, it has been frigid but sunny. Solar power performed well and, overall, provided a small share of total electricity generated. In Texas, winds die down in winter and aren’t expected to contribute as much to the energy mix as in the summer, energy experts say. On Monday, for instance, wind at its highest-performing level of the day was about 28 percent of the energy mix, compared with gas at about 48 percent. In the early morning hours, however, wind was barely more than 7 percent.

“We still rely a lot on natural gas,” said David Spence, a professor of law and regulation at the University of Texas at Austin.

Texas is a major oil and gas state, but is also a national leader in renewables. Two years ago, the state generated 26 percent of all wind-sourced electricity in the United States, leading the nation for the 17th year in a row, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Wind power first surpassed nuclear energy in Texas in 2014 and passed coal power in 2020.

In 2022, Texas installed nearly as much new energy capacity from wind alone as California did for wind, solar and battery storage combined, said William Boyd, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Last year, solar made up 7 percent of the state grid’s power mix, up from nearly nothing five years before.

“We can look at Texas as a red state that may have a lot of people in power who are climate deniers,” Mr. Boyd said. “But if you look at the state’s investments in clean energy, Texas dominates.”

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