When you think of Texas and the energy industry, you think oil and gas? Right? Wrong! While Texas is heart of domestic U.S. oil and gas production, it is also the leader among U.S. states in wind power generation.
The U.S. raised its wind power capacity by 8% in 2018 reaching a cumulative total of 96.5 gigawatts (GW), and supporting an industry which now boasts a record 114,000 jobs, over 500 domestic factories, and more than $1 billion a year in revenue for states and communities, according to the American Wind Energy Association. In its report, US Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2018 the association pointed out that wind now powers over 30 million American homes.
And it seems that Texas is still No. 1 in wind power generation. According to the AWEA, Texas generates a quarter of all US wind-power capacity and, if it were a country, Texas would rank fifth in the world for wind power capacity with nearly 25 GW installed.
As of yearend 2018, Texas also had a further 7 GW of projects under construction or in advanced development, which in turn means that Texas is not only leading the country’s wind industry in terms of capacity, but in terms of jobs and investment as well. Specifically, according to the report, Texas now employs 25,000 wind jobs while Texas wind farms have drawn over $46 billion in total capital investment to date, paying $307 million annually in landowner payments.
In fact, expanding out to the impact US wind has on the country as a whole, US wind farms are paying $1.05 billion a year through state and local taxes as well as lease payments to landowners. This includes $761 million paid a year in state and local taxes and a further $289 million paid a year in wind farm land lease payments.
“Communities across Texas and the nation feel the benefits wind power delivers,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan, speaking at the launch of the report at the Greater Houston Partnership, the chamber of commerce for the nation’s energy capitol. “Wind farm revenue enabled Blackwell Consolidated Independent School District, located near Abilene, Texas, to build a new school building, buy new technology, and provide scholarships worth $36,000 to students attending 1st through 12th grades. And that’s just one of the more than 100 districts in Texas that have seen the benefits of wind power in their community.”