Texas Renewable Electricity
Texas is ranked fourth nationally in its ability to produce renewable electricity. Furthermore, a United Nations study has suggested that Texas actually has a larger potential capacity for renewable energy than any other state. This potential stems from the abundance of sunlight and wind.
Texans have the power to promote renewable electricity in TX by selecting a renewable energy provider to supply electricity from renewable sources. To search for providers in your area, simply enter your zip code into the box above.
The Texas electrical grid
Whereas formerly all things electric were provided by a single company, home and business owners now have the right—in most areas—to select one of several providers for their power. These competing companies are known as Retail Electric Providers (REPSs).
One of the ways for an REP to procure electricity is through purchases of Distributed Renewable Generation (DRG). DRG refers to the decentralized production of renewable electricity with small solar plants and windmills. Excess energy can be sold to an REP, which is responsible for redistribution. Texans can participate in this flourishing market either by purchasing renewable energy or by producing it themselves and selling the excess.
Major green providers, in descending order of age, are TXU Energy, Green Mountain, Just Energy, Reliant Energy, Stream Energy, Ambit Energy, and Bounce Energy. All of these companies offer electricity from renewable sources, as well as fixed rate and other package deals.
In fact, all Texas providers must make some contribution to renewable energy. Due to a legislative decision in 2005 to promote Texas renewable electricity, all purchases support renewable power to some degree. Companies are required to obtain a certain number of renewable energy credits, which can either be earned through the use of renewable sources, or purchased on the open market. Either way, this program ensures that a certain proportion of electricity production must step from renewable sources. It also rewards those companies that choose green electricity by providing them with extra income from credits.
Producing renewable electricity in Texas
The state of Texas has a huge capacity for the production renewable energy using solar, wind, and biomass sources. These opportunities are particularly abundant in the northwest part of the state, which has a huge supply of sun, wind, and open space. The world of Texas renewable electricity is large and getting larger.
There are already 80,000 windmills—old and new—supplying energy to Texans. Solar electricity lags behind wind power in the state, in part because of the 2009 failure of legislation to subsidize it. Nevertheless, a federal solar rebate is still in place, and local producers can take advantage of this incentive by participating in DRG.
If you buy renewable electricity in Texas—and remember, all electrical sources subsidize renewable power through the credit system—your money is headed mostly towards the wind farms. It also goes into development of new turbines, as well as towards new sources of power.
Sign up for an energy provider
After you’ve looked up providers in your zip code, it should be easy to make the switch to renewable electricity. Energy providers are required to designate their energy source on the Electricity Facts Label. Now that you know a little about how energy is produced and distributed in Texas, you can make a more informed decision about what type of provider you want to choose.
Once you decide on a company, you can usually evaluate different plans they have for the purchase of electricity. For example, you can choose a fixed price, based on the cost of energy now, or opt instead for a variable price that will fluctuate with the market. Your choice of plan will depend on your budget and tolerance for risk-taking, as well as your beliefs about how prices might change. Some companies will offer special incentives for switching. Don’t sign up with the first company who sends someone to your door asking to look at your energy bill; do some research and ask yourself some questions:
- Am I comfortable paying for energy at a continual fixed rate? Can I afford to gamble on the market?
- Does this company get its energy from a source I approve of? Is it possible to get a good price on renewable energy in my area?
- How long do I want my contract to be? Do I want a lower price with a longer commitment, or am I willing to pay a little extra in exchange for the flexibility to switch providers if something better comes along?