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We can make the end of coal in Texas happen

It’s already happening. It just needs a bit of a boost.

Texas might have the perfect environment to quit coal for good.

Texas is one of the only places—potentially in the world—where the natural patterns of wind and sun could produce power around the clock, according to new research from Rice University.

Scientists found that between wind energy from West Texas and the Gulf Coast, and solar energy across the state, Texas could meet a significant portion of its electricity demand from renewable power without extensive battery storage. The reason: These sources generate power at different times of day, meaning that coordinating them could replace production from coal-fired plants.

“There is no where else in the world better positioned to operate without coal than Texas is,” said Dan Cohan an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University who co-authored the report with a student, Joanna Slusarewicz. “Wind and solar are easily capable of picking up the slack.”

[…]

Coal still generates about 25 percent of the state’s power, but its share is shrinking. Since 2007, coal used in generating electricity has decreased 36 percent. Last year, Vistra Energy of Dallas shut down three coal-fired plants in Texas, citing changing economics in the power industry that make it difficult for coal to compete.

Texas has more than 20,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, which could rise to 38,000 megawatts by 2030, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Solar energy, however, has developed much more slowly in Texas, despite the abundance of sunshine. Texas installed about 2,500 megawatts of solar capacity in 2018.

The research article is here. Texas has done well generating wind energy, but needs to step it up with solar. The Lege could provide some incentives for this, so maybe mention to your State Rep the next time you call their office that this would be a productive thing to do.

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7 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “The Lege could provide some incentives for this….”

    Or maybe solar and wind proponents could do what every other energy producer does…..fight it out for market share in the free market. I want the lege to provide some incentives for me to buy a new Corvette. Is that a good use of taxpayer’s money? I mean, it’s good for me, personally, maybe not so good for every other taxpayer who would prefer to see money going to schools or roads. But hey, that Vette is going to look great in my garage.

    How is this any different than asking government to give set asides for less qualified people based on race, gender, or sexual orientation? I really don’t care if your energy affirms its love for energy of the same sex, or “the future is solar.” I care about the most reliable energy at the lowest price.

    Maybe we just let wind and solar EARN their place at the table based on economics and reliability, both weak points for them right now.

  2. Flypusher says:

    In typical trumper cherry picking fashion, you leave out how heavily oil has been subsidized for decades, subsidized in blood as well as treasure. It’s also had the advantage of being very underpriced relative to its actualcists. Wind and solar ought to get equal treatment, but hopefully without any military interventions.

  3. Flypusher says:

    “Actual COSTS”

  4. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    Can we agree that subsidization is bad? Can we start now and agree to stop subsidizing things? I can’t change the past, but I can join with you to insist that our Navy stop patrolling the Strait of Hormuz? Countries that are NOT energy independent need that route kept open. We don’t. Let the EU, the Chinese, India, and or Russia patrol that route.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, right? If subsidizing oil was bad, then so is subsidizing wind and solar. Let’s agree to stop subsidizing all of it. Make Taxes Low Again!

  5. Flypusher says:

    No agreement. Getting renewable energy establishmented has more important reasons than just the cost. One of the points of paying taxes is research and development of things that benefit everyone. You offer no reasons for your arbitrary cutoffs on subsidies, other than you just don’t feel like it.

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    Fly,

    Why spend taxpayer R&D money when we can just wait for China to innovate, then steal their intellectual property and build the stuff here? Turnabout is fair play. China steals OUR IP and then uses the money saved on building infrastructure. That’s what WE should be doing.

    Besides, we’ve already tried it your way. Solyndra? Heck, that worked out great for a few Obama donors, not so great for the taxpayers. Do you really want tax money going to Trump donors with sweetheart deals? Think about that.

    And yes, I did offer a very valid reason for opposing continuing subsidies. I don’t want to pay for it.

  7. Flypusher says:

    Bill, you are just being stupid now. If people like you had gotten their way too often, we’d have had no scientific advances. Following your asinine type of suggestion is how the US loses its lead in science. Stealing something doesn’t get you all the side benefits that building something yourself does. The $ put into your favorite whipping boy Solyndra is nothing compared to what has been put into oil and gas, and I am firmly on the side of giving wind and solar equal treatment in terms of subsidies. Minus the blood. The tax dollars can ever go to Trump supporters, if they have good ideas.

    And you prove yet again the true conservative philosophy these days is “I get mine, screw you.” Clean energy needs to be approached with Manhattan project level urgency, for the good of everyone.