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Renewable Portfolio Standard Helps Fuel Texas Wind, Solar Power Growth

1 min. read

CleanTechnica reports that "Texas saw a 13 percent increase in the amount of energy generated by renewable sources in 2011," with 31.7 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy...recorded by the state’s renewable energy credit program, up from 28 million MWh in 2010."  What is causing this rapid growth?

One main factor has fueled the Lone Star state’s renewables boom — a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 10,000 megawatts (MW) generating capacity by 2025. The state’s RPS exceeded its target more than 15 years early in 2009, and 11,586 MW of renewable capacity are currently registered in the REC program.

That 11,586 MW of renewable capacity accounted for about 14% of Texas' total power generation capacity in 2011.  At a growth rate of 13% per year, that share could increase rapidly. The question is, will Texas continue to see this rate of growth (or, preferably, an even faster rate) in coming years?

As for the rest of the country, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,  "30 States and the District of Columbia had enforceable RPS or other mandated renewable capacity policies" in January 2012, with another 7 states having "voluntary goals for renewable generation." The most aggressive RPS is in California, where the state's electric utilities are required "to derive 33% of their retail sales from eligible renewable energy resources in 2020."  Ideally, every state would have a mandatory RPS, preferably as aggressive as California's. And ideally, Texas would increase its RPS now that it's achieved its goal well ahead of schedule.