Texas Energy Policy and Politics

I am an interdisciplinary researcher, doing work on environmental and energy politics in the US, and I have found the policy and politics of Texas to be particularly interesting at this stage of my work.

My most recent research project has been on states in the US. I have been comparing policies for renewable energy, energy efficiency, natural gas, and climate change. As most of you know, only California has a climate change policy up and running through CARB, but many other Democratic states have passed, though not actually implemented, similar policies. No Republican states have, including Texas. The reason Texas is so unusual is that despite that fact, the state has among the strongest energy efficiency and renewable energy policies in the country, including California.

In terms of renewable energy, the amount that Texas has is not measured in a percentage, as with most states, but in MW of renewable power installed. It has twice as much wind energy installed as California and over 140 MW of solar too, along with significant amounts of other renewables like geothermal power.

When it comes to energy efficiency, Texas has what is known as an energy efficiency resource standard (EERS), which requires that consumers get a certain percentage of their energy demand growth through conservation by utilities. In 1999, Texas established the country’s first EERS, and now requires that 30% is met through efficiency, again leading the country.

After I wrap up my statistical analysis, I will be going to some states to do interviews and surveys, and Texas will certainly be one of them!

For comparison, a "standard" Republican state, such as Alabama, has no climate change policy and very weak efficiency and renewable policies and standards. A “standard” Democratic state like New Jersey has a climate change policy they have not implemented, and decent efficiency and renewable policies, but not as good as Texas. Califonia, which leads the country, has implemented climate policy, and has very strong efficiency and renewable policy.

Photo Credit: Texas Energy Policy/shutterstock