Friday, April 10, 2015

Renewables in ... Texas

Japanese involved in the energy business and energy policy with whom I speak often marvel at the U.S. "shale gas revolution".  They envy the U.S. access to cheap fossil fuels.  Yes, natural gas is dirt cheap and the U.S. is now, again, the #1 oil producer in the world.

But they are much less aware that the fastest growing area of electric power generation in the U.S. is not gas, but renewables -- solar and wind.  Well of course, they think, in someplace like California where liberals from Hollywood support a governor like Jerry Brown and drive aggressive renewables targets.

But wait, renewables in Texas -- the heart of the "oil patch"?

Indeed, Texas is the #1 producer of wind power in the U.S.A.

And this article in Scientific American highlights how solar PV is going to play a major role in Texas.

Austin, Texas plans almost 1GW of utility scale solar supply by 2025.  And they plan to do it while maintaining affordability -- requiring lower than average utility bills and holding annual increases below 2% (the Kuroda BOJ inflation target, coincidentally).

Well, the article focuses on liberal Austin, Texas, home to University of Texas, Austin and the State Capital.  But Austin is a city of almost one million population, and growing very rapidly.  Austin's electric utility is at 25% renewable energy supply today and plans to be at 55% renewables by 2025.

It is indeed a Brave New World when a major city in the heart of the oil patch plans to be a 55% renewable electricity supply within ten years.

Meanwhile, Japan is building lots more coal plants and hopes to get to ... maybe 25% renewables by 2030?  And they divide the world into "baseload" and "non-baseload"?  Huh?

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