Climate & Energy

Wildcatting the wind in Texas

Conventional energy vs. renewable energy

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, executive director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. ----- As all eyes turn toward Texas this week in advance of the Democratic primary, we will see a state that is beginning its transition to a new energy economy. Texas is grappling with a shift the entire nation faces -- and as usual, it's doing it on a big scale. When it comes to energy and to carbon emissions, Texas is a place of superlatives and contrasts. It has more solar, wind, and biomass resources that any other state; but it's also No. 1 in total carbon emissions. It is the ancestral home of Big Oil, but it also hosts the world's largest wind farms. It has a very successful renewable energy portfolio standard, but it also has two nuclear power plants in the pipeline to provide power to its rapidly growing population. A year ago in a watershed deal, a private equity firm working with environmentalists arranged a $45 billion buyout of the state's largest power producer, TXU. As part of the deal, eight of 11 planned new coal-fired power plants were cancelled. However, as many as nine new coal plants remain in the pipeline. In Texas, we see a contest between conventional and renewable energy resources, and between the past and the future.

Notable quotable

“So when it came time to vote on Dick Cheney’s energy bill, I voted no, and Senator Obama voted yes.” – Hillary Clinton, Ohio Democratic presidential primary debate

Notable quotable

"We’re going to have to invest in infrastructure to make sure that we’re competitive. And I’ve got a plan to do that. We’re going to have to invest in science and technology. We’ve got to vastly improve our education system. We have to look at energy and the potential for creating green jobs that can not just save on our energy costs but, more importantly, can create jobs in building windmills that will produce manufacturing jobs here in Ohio, can put rural communities back on their feet by working on alternative fuels, making buildings more energy efficient. We can hire …