Texas remains the biggest oil producer in the United States, but they’re continuing to make strides in their move to renewable energy. They already sit as one of the best wind producers, and a number of popular branches throughout the state are also transitioning to these sources as they become cheaper. A few power companies continue to expand into the solar energy market as well.
The Lone Star State has a wind generation capacity of just over 21,000 megawatts that spans over 40 wind farms. That number will expand to roughly 27,000 with more projects under construction. Enough energy is generated from wind alone to power over 5.3 million homes, which ranks first in the nation.
A few companies in the area are taking advantage of that wind generation to eliminate some of their carbon footprint. 7-Eleven will setup all 425 stores to run exclusively on wind energy. says that it will also lower overall costs to run their stores and that it’ll create a better image as people are now “paying attention to what companies are doing” when it comes to sustainability.
Facebook’s data center in Fort Worth is also solely operated on wind power. noted that they worked with three different energy companies -- Citigroup Energy, Alterra Power Corporation, and Starwood Energy Group -- to bring over 200 megawatts of capacity online back in December 2015. The $1 billion data center opened up in early May.
Texas is also trying to catch up with solar energy, which makes sense as it’s drenched with sunlight for 61 percent of the year, or roughly 2,850 hours. El Paso Electric has recently installed and powered on a three-megawatt system for customers that can’t install solar panels on their homes or wouldn’t get efficient electric output.
reports that two weeks ago, Vistra Energy Corporation made a commitment to power 57,000 homes with the creation of a new solar project. CEO Curt Morgan said that the decision “was largely driven out of demand from our retail side.” California continues to be high and above everyone else in this industry, but Texas holds the of any other state and doubled its solar capacity from 2015 to 2016.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the electric grid for over 24 million homes in the state, is nearly 60 percent powered by renewable energy and natural gas. Alternative energy sources will only continue to grow in Texas as job opportunities rise and production gets lower.