Oil-Rich Texas is Nearly Renewable Energy Leader

John Davis

Texas flagLooks like Texas is taking an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to energy sources. The oil-rich state added nearly 800 clean energy jobs during the first three months of this year, and according to this story in renewablesbiz.com, that puts Texas second only to Idaho and California. But the article also warns those the 5,600 new clean energy and clean transportation jobs added throughout the country are less than half of what was announced a year earlier by Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2, the non-partisan business group that compiled the figures.

E2’s executive director, Bob Keefe, suggests more declines could be on the horizon, amid uncertainty about the future of state mandates and federal tax incentives driving renewable energy investments around the country.

The biggest hit at the federal level is the disappearance of the renewable energy production tax credit that allows project owners to reduce tax bills by 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced from renewable sources over 10 years…

Meanwhile, an investment tax credit that has been used to finance solar projects with long lead times is set to expire in 2016.

So far, renewable energy advocates have been prevailing in most of those fights, notably when the Kansas House voted to retain the state’s requirement that utilities draw 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. But a similar battle is under way in Ohio.

Four new big projects in Texas drove the increase: the Barilla Solar project in Pecos County; the Plainview Orchard Wind project in Plainview; the First Wind project in Armstrong and Carson counties; and a biodiesel plant in Temple by Austin-based Thomas Biodiesel.