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Study Shows Renewable Energy Developments Would Boost West Texas economies

Clean energy technology would contribute $30 million annually in property taxes and create 5,000 jobs

News release
For Release @ Sunday April 11, 1999

(Lubbock) Renewable energy projects are already paying dividends to strapped school districts in West Texas and millions more in property taxes and jobs could be on the way according to two studies released by the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development (SEED) Coalition and Public Citizen of Texas. One study based on a case analysis of a wind power development in Culberson County found that a 5% target would earn more than $30 million for local school districts every year. The second study, commissioned by the Texas Department of Economic Development, found that 5,000 jobs would be created in the renewable energy sector if the state were to get 5% of its electricity from renewables by 2008.

"Building renewable energy is smart economic investment for Texas," said Peter Altman, director of the SEED Coalition. "Renewable energy means millions of dollars for Texas schools and thousands of family-raising jobs for Texans."

The studies come at a critical time for West Texas, which recently suffered through one of the most damaging oil gluts in recent memory. Low global prices meant reduced production, which translated into lost revenues for schools. As traditional energy industries are on the wane, renewables are an opportunity for Texas to maintain its energy leadership and create jobs in the energy industry for a new generation of Texans.

"Texans have spoken- in ten polls over the last two years they have said that renewable energy is their first choice for meeting our future needs for electric power, and over 80% have said they are willing to pay a $1 per month to develop this new energy resource and think that all Texans should pay a little to develop these resources. This study shows we can develop a new wealth producing, school supporting energy industry in Texas for our children and grandchildren ," said Tom "Smitty" Smith director of Public Citizen’s Texas Office.

The investment needed for wind energy development is modest. A 1998 study by the Renewable Energy Policy Project, a Washington based research group, found that the cost of large scale wind development in Texas would be about 75 cents per month per family. The plans notes that for under a dollar per a month, Texans could create a new multi product clean energy boom and position Texas as the renewable energy center for the future.

There are a number of other benefits:

  • $2.14 billion in manufacturing
  • $263 million in annual energy sales after all the turbines are installed
  • $5.2 million in annual landowner payments
  • $27 million each year for operations and maintenance
  • $ SLOAN in local taxes
  • development of a competitive advantage in the future clean energy manufacturing marketplace

"Wind power is the worlds fastest growing source of electrical power," said Smith. "If Texans were to develop 3070 MW of wind power over the next over the next 10 years it would cost the average Texan 75 cents per month or $9 per year.

Development of renewable energy sources will have other positive benefits. Power plants are Texas largest source of air contaminants, and as such play a role in ozone pollution, acid rain and global warming.

"A new Texas energy boom could result if bills pending in the state legislature are passed," Smith said, "and West Texas representatives play a key role in renewables development." In the State Senate, Senator David Sibley’s electric utility deregulation bill has an amendment that would require sellers of electricity to get 3% of their electric capacity from renewables by 2009. Senators Teel Bivins (R-Amarillo), Robert Duncan (R-Lubbock) and Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) voted for the amendment. In the State House Representative Pete Gallego has introduced legislation that would require sellers to get 10% of their electricity from renewables by 2010. Representatives Tom Craddick (R-Midland), Delwin Jones (R-Lubbock), Bob Hunter (R-Abilene) and David Counts (D-Knox City) serve on the House State Affairs Committee, which is expected to consider the renewables package as part of a larger deal on electric utility restructuring.

 

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