Energy & Environment

Environmental Group Urges Lawmakers To Focus On Renewable Energy, Natural Gas

The report argues the focus would create jobs and help the state’s economy.


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An advocacy group is urging Texas lawmakers to prioritize renewable power sources and natural gas over coal.

In a new report, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) argues that would create jobs and help the state's economy.

John Hall is EDF’s Associate Vice President for Clean Energy and the report’s author. He says his group wants to see a comprehensive state energy plan that would prioritize wind, solar and natural gas.

"We have all of these resources in abundance, so let's utilize more of them, and less dirty imported coal."

The group wants the state Public Utility Commission to raise energy efficiency goals for utilities, and it wants regulators to make rules cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The report says these and other recommendations would lead to new clean energy jobs and economic growth.

Dr. Ramanan Krishnamoorti at the University of Houston says the jobs angle isn't the best selling point for investing in renewables, because those jobs require higher-skilled workers than the coal industry. But he says renewables are increasingly attractive.

"Wind and solar will increase because of market forces,” he says, “because of the fact that they have become price competitive, and because of an overall cleaner environment that they lead to."

Hall says at the very least, his group will feel good this session if lawmakers don't pass bills helping the coal industry, and don't make changes to the state's competitive electric market.

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