Jun 11, 2024 - News

Speed drives Texas' clean energy boom

Illustration of a stack of cash with three windmills on top of it.

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Renewable energy projects in Texas are hot.

Why it matters: Companies are searching for the quickest way to get clean electricity to power data centers for AI, and Texas' relatively quick hookups are increasingly attractive.

What they're saying: When it comes to new wind and solar projects, "it almost appears as if most roads are leading to Texas for the next two years," says Sam Scroggins, managing director of Lazard's Power, Energy & Infrastructure Group.

  • The demand for clean energy is being driven by growing power needs in Texas, long interconnection delays in other market, and the explosive growth of AI and data centers, said Scroggins.

Yes, but: The Texas grid can get pretty congested during peak times and has previously faced rolling blackouts.

  • Texas is "a double-edged sword," says Brian Janous, cofounder of project developer Cloverleaf Infrastructure. "You can connect a lot there, but they have a 'connect and then figure it out' approach."

By the numbers: Texas installed the second-most solar panels of any state in the first quarter of 2024, per researchers at Wood Mackenzie.

Between the lines: Republican policymakers in the oil-and-gas state have had a complicated relationship with the renewable energy industry — at turns touting its growth as a signal of Texas' pro-business ways, at others vilifying it as a state-subsidized bogeyman.

  • Solar power is now displacing natural gas generation in the middle of the day, especially during the summer, per the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

What's next: Eyes will be on how the Texas grid performs this summer, with record-shattering heat expected.

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