Texas PUC has Opportunity Next Week to Lead Solar Jobs Creation

Public Utility Commission of Texas Must Act Now to Build Jobs for Texans with Solar Power and other Renewable Energy Sources

 July 8th Meeting is the PUC’s Last Opportunity to Act on January Proposal

The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, the Texas Apollo Alliance and other advocates of a varied energy supply in Texas call on the Public Utility Commission to act now to approve proposed rules that would implement a 500 Megawatt (MW) target for non-wind renewable power like solar and geothermal energy.   The Texas Legislature approved the 500 MW target in 2005 and the PUC proposed it as a rule January 2011.  With a standard six month deadline for acting on any proposed rule, the July 8th Commissioner’s Meeting next week is the last opportunity for the Commissioners to act on their proposal to implement the 500 MW rule for solar and other non-wind renewable.

Texas Community Colleges Embrace Solar Power

“Texas can meet our energy demand in the coming years and create jobs by strongly promoting clean energy – we’re experiencing a strong trend in that direction,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club. “However, one of the many solutions we need is for Texas Public Utilities Commission to finally implement the proposed and long-overdue rule to build out new resources like solar power and geothermal energy.  There’s no good reason to wait any longer.”

Reed noted that there is approximately some 800 MWs of solar development in Texas that have sought and obtained interconnection agreements through ERCOT, but many of those projects are waiting to see if the PUC creates the market.

Mayor Julian Castro (front, center) and CPS CEO Doyle Beneby (back, left) with Clean Energy CEOs set the bar in their announcement last week of thousands of new clean energy jobs coming to San Antonio

“Some Texas solar power projects are being built – for example by CPS Energy in San Antonio and Austin Energy.  However, a long line of Texas solar power projects want to serve our competitive market and bring jobs to our state, but they’re waiting for the cue from the PUC,” noted Reed. “Passing a strong non-wind renewable standard would create demand, create jobs and do so in a way that doesn’t produce air pollution at a time when air pollution regulations are becoming more stringent.”

Texas is currently losing solar power jobs to neighboring states of Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico where those states have regulatory mechanisms that encourage clean energy development.

“Electrical contractors in west Texas tell me all the time about solar power jobs that they’re working on in New Mexico where the state is actually promoting clean power projects,” said Dave Cortez with the Apollo Alliance.  “Anyone with concerns about rising costs should look to our neighbor states of Arizona and New Mexico and see that opening up the energy market to renewables can actually lead to both jobs creation and lower costs for consumers.”

For more information or to get involved, contact:  Cyrus Reed, Sierra Club, 512-740-4086 or 512-477-1729 or Dave Cortez, Apollo Alliance, 512-736-7300

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