source: Yahoo News
Texas lawmakers have recently proposed a series of bills that aim to penalize renewable energy and promote fossil fuels, despite the fact that Texas is one of the country’s top renewable energy producers. This suite of legislation was introduced by Republican politicians last week and includes nine bills that aim to address issues with Texas’s power grid. One of the proposed bills would limit new renewable energy facilities being constructed based on how much natural gas facilities are also being built, in an effort to keep natural gas competitive.
Another proposed bill would get rid of any remaining state tax credits for renewables, and a third would smooth out what legislators call pro-wind and solar “market distortions” created by federal tax breaks. One bill in particular would create up to 10,000 megawatts of natural gas-fueled generation. These bills echo some of the concepts raised in bills introduced two years ago after a winter freeze and blackouts that killed hundreds of people, and while the GOP was still inaccurately attempting to blame the issues with the grid solely on renewable energy.
Texas’s leadership is in favor of these measures. Governor Greg Abbott stated earlier this month that he would not permit wind and solar companies to obtain corporate tax breaks under a new state program. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick praised the bills at a press conference last week, saying that they will “fix the Texas power grid once and for all.” Two of the bills, one dealing with the “market distortions” and the other to create new natural gas generation, were designated by Patrick as part of his suite of 30 priority bills for this legislative session.
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What is most surprising about this package of legislation is how successful renewable energy is in Texas. Last year, Texas was the country’s top producer of wind energy and the second-largest producer of solar energy. The International Energy Agency predicted last year that the use of renewables on the grid could increase further in 2023, lowering natural gas usage.
Luke Metzger, the executive director of Environment Texas, said in an email to Earther that “these bills will subsidize those dirty energy sources at a big cost to consumers and the environment.” Metzger also stated that “The state of Texas is dispensing with the free market to subsidize polluting power plants and discriminating against wind and solar energy.”
The issues with the Texas power grid are more complicated than “renewables bad, fossil fuels good.” More uncomfortable reforms will be required to determine what will work best for the state. However, Republicans are certain to take any opportunity to use renewable energy as a political punching bag.
Texas lawmakers have introduced a package of bills that penalizes renewable energy and promotes fossil fuels, despite Texas’s position as a top producer of renewable energy. These bills, if passed, would limit the construction of new renewable energy facilities, remove tax credits for renewables, and create more natural gas-fueled generation. Despite the success of renewable energy in Texas, Republican leaders continue to advocate for these measures, citing concerns over the reliability of the power grid. Critics of the legislation argue that it will subsidize polluting power plants and discriminate against wind and solar energy, abandoning the free market principles of the state. The issues with the Texas power grid are multifaceted, and it will require additional difficult reforms to determine the best solution.