It has been two weeks since the Texas Senate voted to advance a crippling anti-wind bill that would repeal the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and undo the massive $7 billion-plus Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) transmission initiative.
However, numerous sources tell NAW that the bill is being held up because of good, old-fashioned Texas politics – and posturing.
The bill, introduced by Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, S.B.931, ‘relating to the goal for renewable energy and [CREZ],’ was approved by the Texas Senate on April 16. But the legislation has languished since then, as it awaits referral to a House committee. And some suggest good old-fashioned politics is to blame.
‘This is a major side issue right now in Texas – the speaker is not referring any senate bills to House committees, and the lieutenant governor is not referring any House bills to Senate committees,’ the source says.
Although such political posturing is nothing new – in fact, some say it is a staple of Texas politics – timing could play a factor as the legislative session ends June 1 and in that, the last several days are typically set aside for conference reports and corrections.
So, could wind energy policy in Texas – the leading U.S. state for wind – escape unscathed?
That depends, says the source. ‘S.B.931 definitely still has a shot at passing, but it is caught in a backlog of bills, and time is starting to become a factor.’
Jeff Clark, executive director at The Wind Coalition, a regional partner of the American Wind Energy Association, asserts that lawmakers have heard from a concerned public.
‘Since its passage in the Senate, the public has become engaged and their voices are beginning to be heard,’ Clark says. ‘We hope that lawmakers will look at the success of the RPS and CREZ programs, will listen to these communities, and will reject this unnecessary change in our state's successful programs."
‘Texas has grown its energy industries with a variety of programs to encourage development. In order to remain the world's leading energy economy, Texas should continue to support all of its energy industries, including those developing our fantastic Texas wind energy resource.’