Axios Dallas

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Happy Thursday! Say something kind to yourself.

โ˜€๏ธ Today's weather: Sunny with a high near 82.

๐ŸŽต Sounds like: "The Wind"

๐Ÿ›ฃ๏ธ Situational awareness: U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is scheduled to visit North Texas today to talk about a national grant program that includes funding for I-30 in Dallas, Klyde Warren Park, Southern Gateway Park and SH 5 in McKinney.

Today's newsletter is 936 alternative words โ€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Texas' wind and solar production

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 โ€” around 119,836 GWh โ€” than any other state in 2023. Iowa came in second, with around 41,869 GWh produced.

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.

  • In Texas, January's low wind speeds contributed to a 22% drop in power generation by the state's wind farms compared to the same month in 2022.

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

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2. ๐Ÿฝ Dallas has three James Beard finalists

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A Dallas restaurant and two local chefs are finalists for a 2024 James Beard award.

Why it matters: The annual awards doled out by the James Beard Foundation are basically the Oscars for American cuisine.

The big picture: The foundation is increasingly recognizing Texas cuisine in the national restaurant categories, and the awards created a regional category in 2019 just for the state.

  • This year, Dallas has two finalists in national categories: Lucia chef David Uygur for outstanding chef and Gemma for outstanding hospitality.
  • Lucia was a finalist last year in the national outstanding restaurant category but didn't win.

Zoom in: Chef Misti Norris of Petra and the Beast in Dallas was named a finalist in Texas' Best Chef category. The other nominees in the Texas category are:

What's next: The winners will be named at a June 10 gala in Chicago.

3. ๐ŸŽ‰ Axios Dallas Weekender

Book your seats for the weekend. Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

๐ŸŽถ History leads you. Verdigris Ensemble presents "Mis-Lead," a musical performance detailing the lead-smelting past of West Dallas.

  • 7:30pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Kalita Humphreys Theater, 3636 Turtle Creek Blvd. in Dallas. General admission is $41.

๐Ÿ›๏ธ Shop for social justice. Dwell with Dignity is hosting four interior designers for book signings and a thrift sale to raise money for people experiencing poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse and social injustice.

  • 4-6pm today at 1833 E. Levee St. in Dallas.

๐Ÿป Clink up with friends. The Big Texas Beer Fest features over 90 breweries this year, with a lineup that includes beer, ciders, hard seltzers and hard kombuchas.

  • 3pm Saturday at the Fair Park Automobile Building. Tickets start at $45.

๐Ÿ–ผ๏ธ Be artsy. Meet local artists, explore local vendors, and hear live music at the Deep Ellum Community Arts Fair, which started over 150 years ago.

  • Friday to Sunday on Crowdus Street in Deep Ellum. Free admission.

4. ๐Ÿ—ž Burnt ends: Bite-sized news bits

News isn't always bonny. Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

๐Ÿ’ฐ A Dallas-based hospitality real estate firm is unregistering from the New York Stock Exchange to cut the costs of functioning as a public reporting company. (DMN)

โšพ๏ธ Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung will be out eight to 10 weeks after surgery on his fractured wrist. (ESPN)

๐Ÿš” Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Rashee Rice met with Dallas police yesterday to discuss his involvement in a street racing crash over the weekend. (FOX4)

๐Ÿ’ฌ Quote du jour:

"To be fair, maybe Texas went too far."
โ€” Texas Solicitor General Aaron Lloyd Nielson, before a federal appeals panel on SB4, the state law that would let police arrest migrants. (Texas Tribune)
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5. โ›ฝ One Buc-ee's ode to go

The Buc-ee's fandom keeps getting larger. Photos: Linh "Our Bud-dee" Ta/Axios

๐Ÿ‘‹ Linh here from Axios Des Moines!

  • I spent a few weeks in Dallas and Austin and the memories that keep bringing me joy were my visits to Buc-ee's.

Driving the news: Granted, I have daily reminders of the smiling beaver, including sweatshirts, magnets and a bedazzled wine glass (only $25!).

  • But the Buc-ee's experience was always fun, like pointing out the abundant billboards or laughing at the ridiculous merch.

Between the lines: As an Iowan, I'm a gas station snob, especially coming from the home state of Casey's and Kum & Go.

  • Breakfast pizza still reigns supreme in my heart, but this gargantuan gas station gives my local spots a run for their money.

Reality check: I know I'm playing into a cliche, capitalist marketing strategy that may make native Texans roll their eyes.

  • But sometimes, it's just fun to be excited about things! (Especially a cheap brisket sandwich.)

This newsletter was edited by Bob Gee and copy edited by Carolyn DiPaolo.

Our picks:

๐Ÿค Tasha is reading about the UT Austin student from North Texas who created an organization with a student from San Antonio, to bring Jewish and Palestinian students together.

๐Ÿฅณ Naheed is planning to livestream today's groundbreaking block party for the historic Forest Theater, which is being restored.

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