GABRIEL CRISTÓVER PÉREZ / KUT
On this episode of West Texas Talk we hear from Carey King on the state of renewable energy in Texas. King is the assistant director of the energy institute at the University of Texas at Austin which looks at the technology, policy and economics of energy.
West Texas has long been recognized as a focal point for the state’s surging oil and gas industry. But along the winding stretches of highway heading west on I-10, wind turbines dot the horizon. The state, while being a prominent source fossil fuels, is also a leader in renewable energy.
In 2016, Texas produced more wind energy than the next 3 states combined. But experts say part of what has stymied the industry’s growth historically is that renewables have been more expensive to produce and use than their fossil fuel counterpart. But today, says Carey King, an assistant director with the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute, it depends.
“It’s depending on where you are in the country and in Texas it’s definitely being challenged int terms of the cost of electricity,” says King, adding that wind has become increasingly competitive.
Adding to wind energy’s growing profile is a recent statistic showing wind power capacity edged out coal capacity in November. This was the first time that’s happened in Texas history. And while, capacity isn’t actual generation, King says this is a favorable sign for the renewable industry.
In this interview you will hear about the technology that’s playing a role in renewables development, what natural gas means when we’re talking about renewable’s growth, and what 2018 could mean for the industry in Texas.