Apr 4, 2024 - News

Texas wind, solar production surges

Energy generated by solar and wind, 2023
Data: Climate Central; Note: Includes both utility-scale and small-scale solar generation; Map: Axios Visuals

Texas is a top producer of solar power and wind energy in the country, per a new Axios analysis.

Why it matters: Energy from wind and solar installations nationwide is expected to outpace coal-fired electricity this year, per Axios Generate's Ben Geman.

  • And, solar power helped keep the lights on during January's Arctic blast in Texas.

The big picture: Solar installations across the U.S. generated about eight times the gigawatt-hours of electricity in 2023 than in 2014, per Climate Central, a climate research nonprofit. Wind generation has doubled in the past decade.

  • The two energy sources generated enough electricity last year to power more than 61 million average American homes, Climate Central says.

State of play: Coal and natural gas remain the top generators in Texas, though the state has focused on diversifying its portfolio over the years.

  • Texas installed more solar capacity than any other state last year, which likely contributed to a 25% increase in the state's solar energy production between 2022 and 2023.
  • Wind energy generation in the state increased 4% between 2022 and 2023.
  • Renewable energy now accounts for a third of the power generated in Texas, more than any other state.

By the numbers: Texas generated significantly more wind energy — around 119,836 GWh — than any other state in 2023. Iowa came in second, with around 41,869 GWh produced.

  • Texas ranked behind California in the top solar energy producing states, generating 31,739 GWh.

Between the lines: Last year, the Texas Legislature excluded wind and solar from a massive tax break program and passed bills to prop up the fossil fuel industry.

  • But the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, President Biden's landmark climate legislation, has spurred production of renewable energy in Texas and across the country.

Yes, but: Higher interest rates, inflation and supply chain issues are spoiling the financial math of some alt-energy investments.

What we're watching: How the wind and solar boom will help Texas in the summer.

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