KINKY FRIEDMAN’S ENERGY POLICY FOR TEXAS Texas was once the world’s leading energy producer. However, Texas has been a net importer of energy since 1994. Kinky is committed to making Texas self sufficient in energy and returning the Lone Star State to its role as a leading exporter of energy. This can be accomplished by: 1 Evaluating our current energy standards and pursuing a more aggressive plan for expanding and developing renewable energy initiatives; 2 Utilizing existing funds and resources to encourage renewable power; 3 Encouraging and supporting legislation that would provide economic incentive for expansion and development of renewable energy investments in Texas; 4 Lessening our dependence on fossil fuels; 5 Making systemic improvements to fossil fuel generation; and 6 Bringing disparate agencies and bureaucracies under a newly created Texas Department of Energy An expanded renewable energy industry, working with leaner and cleaner petrochemical production, will make Texas the energy leader of the 21st Century. CURRENT STATE OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION Renewable Portfolio Standard In 1999, Texas adopted the Renewable Portfolio Standard, a requirement that 2000 MW (Mega Watts) of renewable energy be made available for Texas energy consumption by 2009. This goal was met in early 2006, primarily through wind energy generation in West Texas. In 2002, about 2% of energy generation in Texas came from renewable sources (1.2% wind energy, 0.7% hydroelectric, and 0.1% other). Enhanced Renewable Portfolio Standard In 2005, the Texas legislature passed renewable energy targets of 5000 MW (4.3 % of the state’s power needs) by 2015 and 10,000 MW (10% of the state’s power needs) by 2025. But Kinky thinks this is too little, too late. IMPLEMENT THE 20% BY 2020 PLAN Kinky supports the plan put forth by the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) that by 2020, 20% of Texas energy should come from renewable, environmentally friendly sources. 1 Texas has the largest wind and solar generation capacity of any state in the country. Our total wind, solar, and biomass energy capacity is 400 times the amount we currently use. What Texas was to oil in the 20th century, we can be to wind power and solar power in the 21st century. 2 The cost of renewable power will become more competitive with traditional forms of power generation as long as renewable energy technologies continue improving and fossil fuel prices continue to soar. An $18 Billion Dollar Difference Projected benefits of the 20% by 2020 plan include: 1 $5.5 billion in total electric bill savings; 2 40,000 new jobs created in Texas with $900 million in new income; 3 $9.4 billion in new capital investment; 4 $1 billion in school tax revenues; 5 $542 million in biomass energy revenue; 6 $150 million in wind power land lease royalties; and 7 Will boost rural economic development Between generating new revenue and reducing expenditures, the 20% by 2020 plan could make an $18 billion difference in the lives of Texans. ENCOURAGE RENEWABLE POWER Utilize existing funds and other resources The state can attract even more industries willing to invest in Texas through sales and property tax incentives. Kinky would: 1 Utilize already existing large-scale funds like the $295 million Texas Enterprise Fund to encourage companies creating new renewable energy technology to locate to Texas. 2 Make funds from the existing $100 million Emerging Technology Fund available to companies doing promising research into improving wind, solar or other renewable energy generation technology. 3 Spend a portion of the $8.2 billion budget surplus to create transmission infrastructure to bring more wind and solar power from west Texas to large population centers. 4 Ensure state purchases prioritze renewable fuels and electricity sources. 5 State buildings and renovations would be built to United States Green Building Council LEED standards for maximum energy efficiency. 6 State vehicle purchases would prioritize those using alternative or hybrid power supplies, including putting the state’s 35,000 school buses on biodiesel. 7 Direct the Public Utilities Commission to give transmission priority to electricity generated through renewable means. 8 Use the bully-pulpit of the governor to encourage Texas counties and municipalities to likewise prioritize renewable fuels, electricity, and vehicles. Encourage and support legislation that would provide economic incentive Kinky would encourage and support legislation that would offer economic incentives for the development of renewable energy. For example, he would: 9 Offer existing energy companies incentives for greater investment in renewable energy generation. 10 Provide tax incentives to encourage further development of off-shore wind power facilities like the ones in Galveston and South Padre Island. 11 Provide tax incentives to encourage further development of inland wind, biofuels, solar, and other renewable facilities, with a special focus on turbines rated over 100 kilowatts (those generally used for commercial power generation). 12 Work with the Texas Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Extension Services (especially TAMU and TTU) and farmers groups around the state to encourage growth of crops that can be refined for use as biofuels. STOP RELYING ENTIRELY ON FOSSIL FUELS Lessen Dependence on Fossil Fuels Texas can lead the charge in working to reduce our dependence on overseas energy suppliers and embracing renewable technologies because: 3 Generating power using fossil fuels produces polluting byproducts that negatively impact both our environment and the quality of life of Texans. 4 Proposed new coal plants in Texas would add nearly 4,000 pounds of Mercury and 117 million tons of global warming gasses to Texas air every year. 5 Global warming is in part responsible for climate change, and the common-sense course is to formulate a policy that takes this into account. Make systemic improvements to fossil fuel generation Texas residents and small business owners have been paying a hefty price for electricity that only gets more and more expensive. The average Texan has seen power bills increase by more than 80% under the current administration. Texans have gotten dirty electricity from an administration all too willing to leap into bed with the entrenched power lobby at the expense of innovation. As governor, Kinky can work to promote the switch to renewable power generation by: 1 Discouraging the construction of new power facilities using coal. Instead, he will work with lawmakers to offer tax breaks for improving the pollution controls and environmental standards of existing coal facilities as well as for the construction of new natural gas facilities. 2 Promoting the development of coal gasification and other clean burning or zero emission power plants. 3 Offering tax incentives and discounted registration for private or commercial vehicles that run off of biofuels, electricity, natural gas, propane, or hybrid sources. 4 Enforcing existing environmental regulations and punishing violators to the full extent of the law. Kinky will stop the current practice of imposing penalties on polluters that are less than the profit gained by polluting. Under previous governors, it paid to break environmental law. Kinky will make sure that polluters quit viewing the pollution of our environment as a routine cost of doing business. 5 Pushing for additional funding and personnel for TCEQ to investigate and enforce violations. (In 2003, over 7,520 “upset events” were reported to TCEQ, but only 30 notices of enforcement were issued in response – a response rate of only 0.4%) 6 Ensuring that TCEQ has clear direction from the Governor’s Office that its mission is to protect Texans and their environment, not special interest groups. 7 Empowering TCEQ to require all companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions. Companies are required to list what they put into our food. Why shouldn’t companies be required to list what they put into our air? 8 Monitoring oilfield waste injection wells and ensuring that violators are punished appropriately. 9 Passing legislation to ensure all electricity-using devices conform to rigorous efficiency standards so that they use less energy and enable Texans to keep more of their hard earned money. CREATE A TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Energy is too important to the future of Texas to leave in the hands of disparate agencies and bureaucracies. To ensure Texas has a prudent and profitable energy policy, energy regulation and policy should be centralized into a Texas Department Energy under leadership appointed by the Governor. The TDE would streamline taxpayer interaction with the state by removing red tape and improve state government by cutting costs and bureaucratic waste.
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