Low Carbon Leader: Texas

Reading time: 34 minutes
25 February 2008

Low Carbon Leader: Texas shows that incentives put in place under the 1999 Senate Bill 7 helped increase installed wind power capacity 280% in only seven years. As a result, Texas overtook California as the nation's largest producer of wind power, avoided three million tons of CO2 emissions and reduced the carbon footprint of every Texan by 250 pounds every year.

Having met its renewable energy targets three years ahead of schedule, in 2005 the state legislature passed Senate Bill 20, setting a new target of 10,000MW of renewable energy capacity by 2025. This will be enough to supply 8% of total electricity use, power 2.6 million Texan homes, avoid roughly five million tons of CO2 emissions per year - and save residential, commercial and industrial customers a whopping $5.5 billion in cumulative energy charges.

These initiatives could create as many of 20,000 new jobs in the state (3.7 times the number that would come from the fossil-fuel business) and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in capital investment, land leases and property tax revenue.

Low Carbon Leader: Texas also profiles cities in Texas that are taking action to cut emissions. Houston plans to meet 50% of its power needs from wind, and its energy conservation activities are already delivering tangible results. Retrofitting vending machines in city facilities saved the city more than $34,000 per year, while switching light bulbs to more efficient T-8 bulbs saved almost $500,000.

Many major companies based in Texas are also making dramatic progress, seeking to freeze or reduce total carbon emissions, creating internal cap-and-trade programs and making carbon cuts part of managers' objectives. Some firms are expanding programs, such as looking at supply chain management to find opportunities for greater efficiency that will further reduce carbon emissions and making the products they sell more energy efficient.

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