Wind Power in the Lone Star State
Liberal environmentalists constantly claim that conservatives are puppets of the fossil fuel industry and prioritize profits over saving the planet. In spite of these accusations, in the nation’s largest red state, Texas, wind power is experiencing unmatched growth due to implementation of market friendly energy policies. Texas currently produces four times as much wind power as California, a state that is often paraded by the left as the beacon of environmental consciousness. The Lone Star State’s wind power surge is a prime example that demonstrates the effectiveness of free market environmentalism and its abilities to establish a competitive energy sector and foster innovation.
The Lone Star State enjoys a less regulated energy sector that provides optimal conditions for innovation. Texas is unique in that it is the only state to manage its power grid without the presence of federal government oversight. This means that the state’s energy sector does not fall under jurisdiction of the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission, which in turn allows wind power projects to continue without enduring FERC’s often cumbersome permitting process. Exemption from FERC requirements has allowed wind power developers to extend transmission lines to more rural areas and increase the number of power sources as a result. In this limited regulatory environment, wind power generation in Texas expanded eleven fold from 2005 to 2015 and power industry carbon dioxide emissions subsequently declined by 20%!
This expansion in wind power has been accompanied by innovation within the sector. Less federal oversight has facilitated the development of efficient wind turbines that generate more power and lower production costs. Without needing to engage in permitting processes and monitor compliance with burdensome federal laws, developers can devote more time to innovation, which is a win for the environment and economy. Innovation best promotes increased production and efficiency, two traits highly desirable in the energy sector.
As a result of higher production, lower costs, and innovation, wind power capacity is expected to surpass that of coal in Texas in the coming year. It’s important to note that this is happening without involvement of the federal government. Instead, the market is appropriately determining the future of the state’s energy sector. Despite what liberal environmentalists argue, a transition to clean energy reliance is possible without implementing counterproductive subsidies and heavy-handed government regulations. As opposed to enforcing mandates, we can instead allow innovation and investment to drive our evolving energy sector.
The American Conservation Coalition fully supports an energy sector driven by market forces and innovation as opposed to one that operates on the government’s picking of winners and losers. Excessive government involvement in the energy sector prohibits across the board innovations that make our environment safer and economy stronger. If more states are able to follow Texas’s lead and manage their electric grids, we would witness an emergence of competitive energy markets that promote the most efficient and reliable sources.