Texas Takes Global Lead in Several Energy Sectors
It’s impossible to talk about the oil and gas industry without mentioning Texas, and for good reason. The state is the nation’s top producer of those fuels.
But Texas is a power player in other ways as well. In addition to being an oil and natural gas leader, Texas is a major player in renewable and sustainable energy, including wind and biofuels.
As of 2009, the state had an installed wind generating capacity of more than 9,400 megawatts, ranking it No. 1 among all states. Texas is home to four of the nation’s largest wind farms. One of the largest, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, has more than 420 wind turbines that together produce 735.5 megawatts, enough power to light more than 220,600 homes.
Recent legislation laid the groundwork for large transmission lines that will speed up the adoption of wind power. Biofuels are another growth industry. Texas is the nation’s leading biodiesel producer, with 30 biodiesel refineries. Texas also had three operational ethanol plants and another under construction in 2009.
When it comes to America’s most abundant fossil fuel – coal – Texas is the nation’s fifth-largest producer and is the top producer of lignite, the type of coal most commonly used in electric power plants. Nuclear energy is another important power source in Texas, which gets about 6 percent of its electricity from two plants.
The Comanche Peak Project in Somervell County and the South Texas Project on the Gulf Coast in Matagorda County have the capacity to generate about 4,800 megawatts of electricity.