With significant investment in wind energy, local communities and economies can enjoy a great deal of fringe benefits that stem from renewables – a secure, clean energy future is just the start. PES takes a look at the wider impacts of wind energy in Texas…
Texas is a global leader in installed wind energy. If Texas were its own country, it would be ranked sixth in the world in terms of installed wind energy capacity (WWEA 2010). It has approximately 10,135 MW of wind energy capacity installed (through April 2011), followed by Iowa with 3,675 MW and California with 3,179 MW (AWEA 2011). The scale of wind energy deployment in Texas has spurred local supply chain development and various activities that contribute to a diversified energy economy. State and federal policies, market conditions, and economic development priorities support the addition of wind energy capacity.
As a result of the significant investment the wind industry has brought to the state, it is important to better understand the economic development impacts of wind energy in Texas. By looking at the jobs and economic impacts of 1,000 MW of wind power generation in the state, the information gathered can be used in policy and planning decisions and can be scaled to get a sense of the economic development opportunities associated with other wind scenarios. It can also inform stakeholders in other states about the potential economic impacts associated with the development of this scale of new wind power generation and the relationships between different elements in the state economy.
A growing population, increasing demand for energy, and energy price uncertainty has created public support for wind power development in several states. In addition, Texas has sought to diversify its energy mix with wind energy, which can also address some economic development and environmental priorities.