University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Renewable Energy Policy in Texas

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February 2020

Christopher Bowman*, Guy Packard*, Zach Pritchard*, University of Michigan

Abstract

Despite voting Republican in every presidential election since Reagan, Texas was one of the first states to adopt a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and is now ranked third nationally in production of renewable energy, beaten only by California and Washington. Owing to the state’s political leanings, Texas energy policy uses a flexible, market-based approach to take advantage of its renewable resources and gives deference to localities and landowners. Texas initially boosted renewable energy through its RPS and continued to provide support through transmission expansion and tax policy. Along the way, renewable energy has been supported by narratives focusing on economic benefits and energy portfolio diversity, while discussion of climate change and environmentalism is avoided. Ultimately, Texas has forged a unique approach to encourage renewables—an approach that respects the state’s history and politics while making it a leader in renewable energy.

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