Texas companies making use of clean energy, helping lead
In the energy market, coal still makes up a large part of the Texas portfolio. But that is changing rapidly, driven by demand for cleaner power sources.
Vistra Energy Corp., a producer formerly known as Energy Future Holdings, still relies on coal for more than half of its power generation. But the company’s retailing unit, TXU Energy, has purchased a big solar project that could serve almost 57,000 homes. Vistra CEO Curt Morgan said, “I want to be very clear that this [solar purchase] was largely driven out of demand from our retail side.”
Texas is easily the largest producer of domestic oil, but it is not well-established that the state is also the leader in wind power, with three times the capacity of the closest state, the Dallas Morning News reported. Wind and solar energy, in early 2016 employed 36,000 Texans.
Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Energy states that the solar energy industry employs 373,800 people. That is rapidly gaining on our state’s staple employment industry, oil, at 515,500. Natural gas employs 362,000, while coal’s employment numbers have dropped to 160,000.
President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord will do little to change the demand for cleaner energy.
General Motors in Arlington, Facebook in Fort Worth and hundreds of 7-Eleven stores around the state are working renewable energy into their power sources. “Young customers care about sustainability and environmental impacts,” said 7-Eleven’s Ben Tison. “They’re paying attention to what companies are doing.”
Exxon Mobil, Google, Apple, Disney and General Electric are all still sticking with the agreements in the accord. Even though Texas’ two senators hailed the withdrawal, most have a better eye toward the future of the energy markets.
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