Texas Senate Votes to Gut the State’s Wind Energy Programs

Would it surprise you to learn that a state that’s as obsessed with oil as Texas is actually one of the nation’s leaders when it comes to wind energy? Believe it or not, in 2014, more than 10 percent of the Lone Star state’s energy was produced from wind turbines. What’s disappointingly less surprising is that Texas legislators are not big fans of this environmental success. In fact, they’re actively trying to scrap the programs that helped wind energy to catch on in the first place. Now Care2 has a petition urging Texas lawmakers to back off before it’s too late.

Last week, by a vote of 21 to 10, the Texas Senate voted in favor Senate Bill 931, which would effectively eliminate everything that was helping renewable energy to grow in the state. That includes both the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone, which provides credits to wind energy, and the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which outlined the state’s green energy goals.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Senator Troy Fraser, says his legislation isn’t an attack on renewable energy, but a vote to signify “mission accomplished” in promoting renewable energy. (Now let’s get back to what we all love doing – drilling and polluting!) Although wind energy has taken off better than most would expect, how can you pretend that the “mission” is complete when the problems of climate change still loom in a major way?

Beyond that, it’s silly to assume that wind energy will even be able to hold on to its existing market share once these programs are pulled. Plus, as supporters of renewable energy point out, federal climate benchmarks are on the way, so it only makes sense to keep these programs in place for easy compliance in the near future.

Before this bill goes into law, the Texas House will have to pass it, as well. So far, no state representative has stepped up to sponsor the bill there; however, knowing the political landscape of Texas, it’s likely only a matter of time before the bill makes its way to the other chamber.

Some in the Senate insist that taking away the incentives are about promoting fair business practices. Now that wind energy has found its footing in the state, they say continuing the programs gives green energy an unfair advantage over its competitors. On the other hand, green energy proponents point out that it’s actually unfair to businesses to suddenly yank away with these programs.

Many entrepreneurs started businesses dealing with wind energy with the expectation that these programs would stay in place, and now they’re liable to lose a lot of money from these investments. “It treats the business community in a way that Texas has not historically treated the business community,” said Jeff Clark, head of The Wind Coalition in Texas.

Texas lawmakers have long proven themselves good buddies of the oil and gas industry. Once green energy started taking off beyond being just a novelty, it looks like the lobbyists have started calling in favors to crush it in the state. With the health of the planet on the line, though, we can’t let the oil companies win. Urge Texas state representatives to ignore and or reject this anti-wind energy bill so that it won’t become law by signing this petition.

 

Photo credit: Thinkstock

87 comments

Jim Ven
Jim Ven3 years ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

Let the industry sink or swim on it's own merits!

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus4 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Grace Adams
Grace Adams4 years ago

Surely, Texas can make good use of all the wind power it can harness!

SEND
Brian F.
Brian F4 years ago

It wasn't enough that the republican moron GW Bush destroyed the country, with his myopic policies, and ignorance, now the criminal republicans are trying to destroy clean wind and solar power, so they can get paid by their corporate masters in the dirty coal, oil, and natural gas industries. Money is the only thing these dirty scumbag republicans care about.

SEND
DON M.
Donald M4 years ago

Unfortunately, most Texans are dumb f**ks. After all, look at our former president!

SEND
ERIKA SOMLAI
ERIKA SOMLAI4 years ago

signed already

SEND
Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

So not surprised. After all this is Texas and money grubbing republicans. They are turning the calendars back to the '60s. Really friggin scary.

SEND
Rachel Nichols
Rachel Nichols4 years ago

Why would somebody let somebody who is that willing to have everyone suffer for no reason do something like this? have the president know as soon as possible what's going on so people in Texas can go back to living a normal more healthier life. We need to get who the people are who decided this to quit their jobs or be reinforced what the laws are.

SEND
John chapman
John chapman4 years ago

The real surprise is that they had one to gut in the first place.

SEND