From the oilfields of the 1901 Spindletop strike to today's growing wind farms of the west Texas plains, energy has played a key role in the development and prosperity of Texas and Texans alike.
Governor Perry has made diversifying the energy mix of Texas' electricity market one of his major priorities, helping to lower electricity prices. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Texas' electric power industry generated 48.35 million megawatt hours (MWh), 12 percent of the nation's capacity from August 2010 to August 2011. Texas relies on a variety of fuel sources to meet the growing demand for electricity, including 55 percent from natural gas, 33 percent from coal, 7 percent from nuclear, 1 percent from hydroelectric , and 4 percent from other renewables.
Texas Net Energy Generation in million MWh
[Aug. 2010-Aug. 2011]
Oil and Gas Exploration and Production
Oil and gas exploration and production is one of Texas' most established industries. New oil and gas reservoirs continue to be discovered, adding significantly to the output of existing reservoirs. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas' 26 refineries lead the nation in both crude oil production and refining, generating more than 4.7 million barrels of crude oil a day and accounting for 27 percent of the nation's total potential capacity and operating production. Texas also leads the nation in natural gas reserves and production and accounts for 32 percent of the nation's capacity.
Electric/Coal/Nuclear Power Generation
Texas is the only state with its own power grid, making it completely independent from other national networks, where one state's decisions may affect electricity markets in all other states. Additionally, the Texas grid is not subject to federal regulation over electrical transmission, which expedites the regulatory process for new energy development. Texas leads the nation in electricity production and consumption. Texas' electric power industry generates approximately 11 percent of the nation's capacity.
Texas is also a major nuclear power generating state with nuclear energy being generated at two plants. The Comanche Peak project in north Central Texas has a 2,300 MW operating capacity and 2,700 MW is being produced at the South Texas Project near the Gulf Coast. Texas is top-ranked for coal production and is one of the top two states for lignite coal production. Lignite coal makes up nearly all of the near-surface coal resources in Texas, all of which is used in electric generation plants.
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Generation
Although historically better known for its oil wells than its wind turbines, Texas leads the nation in installed wind energy capacity (10,394 MW as of January 2012). Texas' dominance in the wind industry is also demonstrated through it being home to six of the ten largest wind power projects in the nation and two of the three largest wind farms in the western hemisphere, Roscoe Wind Farm and Horse Hollow Wind Farm. Texas is also a global leader in wind energy production, ranking 6th in the world.
In 2005, Governor Perry signed Senate Bill 20, which contained a critical commitment to expand the state's transmission grid to maximize the ability to move wind power from West Texas to the rest of the state. By the end of 2011, Texas had10,377 MW of installed wind capacity, compared to Iowa, the second closest state, which only had 4,322 MW. By 2014, Texas will have new transmission capacity to integrate over 18,500 MW of wind energy onto our grid. Texas is pointing the way toward energy independence for our nation.
Texas is also pursuing solar, geothermal, wave/tidal, biomass and methane gas, and hydropower renewable energy technologies.