Since Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) entered the Presidential race, his record has become a subject of controversy, on many fronts. On energy, at least one major environmental group contends he has done “nothing significant” for wind power, despite the fact that the Lone Star State is the nation's leader in installed wind, by a country mile.
We beg to differ.
Wind power has become big business in Texas, where over 10,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generation (enough to power the equivalent of 3 million average American homes) has been installed while Perry has been governor.
The boom in Texas was aided by expansion of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (originally passed under former Governor and President George W. Bush), the concept of designated Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) with expedited transmission construction, and the necessary Public Utility Commission rulemaking, all of which happened on Perry’s watch. The CREZ concept, in particular, is a landmark approach that should keep Texas firmly atop the nation's wind power standings for at least several more years. And, it's important to note, the RPS expansion and CREZ legislation did not get passed during a regular legislative session, and therefore had to be added by the Governor to the call for a special session in order to be considered.
“While Perry’s been governor,” said Susan Williams Sloan, AWEA director of state relations, “we’ve had a business climate that allows a generator to build, connect to the grid and sell power. Under those conditions, wind has been able to compete and bring benefits to Texas consumers, and to the environment.”