News Story

Texas Moves Toward Dumping Wind Mandate

Texas Senate tells wind energy industry the preferential treatment is ending

Last week with a 21-10 vote the Texas Senate passed legislation (Senate Bill 931) that would end the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which is primarily a wind energy (with a certain degree of solar energy) mandate.

Wind energy is more efficient in Texas than it is in states like Michigan — not necessarily efficient but relatively more efficient. Texas is far and away the leading wind energy state in the nation and, thanks in no small part to a $7 billion program for building transmission lines for wind from the western side of the state, it has met its wind energy goals.

Now the Texas Senate seems to be telling the wind energy industry it should start competing without being given any more special advantages. Environmental groups and the wind energy industry want the mandate to stay in force and are urging the Texas House to reject the measure. One argument these factions are using against ending the wind mandate is that the Obama administration's proposed "Clean Power Plan" would require Texas to cut roughly 200 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over the next two decades. However, that argument assumes wind energy would be the most sensible, efficient and cost-effective means of meeting the federal requirements. Apparently, the Texas Senate believes that is debatable.

"Just two years ago the idea that a state renewable mandate would ever be repealed or even frozen was laughable,” said Kevon Martis, director of the Interstate Informed Citizens Coalition, a nonprofit organization that is concerned about the construction of wind turbines. “But now Ohio has frozen its and it is likely to be repealed altogether. West Virginia has repealed its mandate. Windy Kansas has introduced repeal bills, and now the Texas Senate has passed an RPS (wind mandate) repeal.”

“Legislators are waking up to the fact that wind energy mandates force ratepayers to push two shopping carts down the aisle, one filled with gas generators and the second filled with wind turbines, when only one is required — gas,” Martis continued. “Or in the case of Texas, a cart filled with $7 billion of new socialized wind transmission which draws wind developers to the ratepayer trough of money like nobody's business.”

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.