Texas' prosperity and growth were not the result of dumb luck. They were cultivated deliberately over decades. Local and state policy makers and business leaders worked together to plan and make strategic public investments that allowed our economy and our communities to thrive. But there are signs that Texas is entering an era of diminishing returns.
The Texas power grid has come perilously close to its generating capacity of about 78 gigawatts. With Texas’ population growing more than twice as fast as the nation’s, and dozens of corporations relocating or expanding in the state every year, the demand for power will continue to increase.
If we want to avoid the high energy prices seen in places like California and New York while enjoying supplies of reliable energy, subsidies won’t work. If we want our neighbors to live healthy lives, if we believe in an open, democratic political process, and if we believe in the prosperity provided by the free market, our current path of subsidizing renewable energy is the wrong one.
Crypto-mining, the process by which a global network of computers verify Bitcoin transactions, could allow for more renewable energy sources like wind and solar to be integrated into our electricity systems. By running off electricity that would otherwise be curtailed because of low demand, crypto-mining could allow more clean energy to be profitably built on the grid.
Many view oil and gas as an antiquated energy source — a relic of the past that will soon be replaced with so-called "green" alternatives. However, when looking at our ever-growing need for energy, it quickly becomes very clear that fossil fuels are going to remain our primary source of energy for the foreseeable future.
The number of smart devices already in use is tremendous, and the vision for the solar-powered smart home is compelling. Homeowners will soon have both an undreamed number of automated new conveniences and unprecedented control over their energy use.
It may be financially prudent for the state's Permanent University Fund to diversify its portfolio away from fossil fuels. If such assets are still going to be valuable for some time, however, it would be counterproductive to divest from fossil fuels rather than putting those revenues to good use.
I am proposing that Texas place a $10 carbon fee on the monthly production of crude oil, condensate and total oil, gas well gas, casinghead gas and total natural gas, raising an estimated $6.5 billion dollars a year.
The GOP talks of modernizing the tax code. That is a useful concept, because it is a very modern reality that taxes feed oil, and oil contributes to climate change. It’s time to take away the permanent status of oil subsidies. Congress should remove subsidies to the oil industry.
Federal regulators need to correct past mistakes, ensure the long-term sustainability of our power grid and pursue a diverse portfolio that ensures resiliency, reliability, affordability and sustainability that keeps our country so strong and vibrant. I believe that should include coal and nuclear power.
This proposal especially burns customers who invested in solar with the understanding that it would pay for itself through lower electricity bills. SEIA said more than half of current solar customers would lose 40 percent of their expected savings. Others would pay more for electricity than if they had never installed solar at all!
Texas’ actions prove many of our state leaders are turning blind eyes to some of the biggest health and environmental risks associated with oil and gas development — fighting tooth and nail against existing protections and efforts to learn more to inform future protections.
Applied properly, financial assurance is a common-sense requirement. To qualify for a lease, energy companies currently must put up bonds or other collateral to ensure there will be funds to decommission a well once the oil and gas have been extracted. This ensures that bankruptcy or malfeasance can’t endanger the environment or force taxpayers to foot the bill to plug a well.
Hundreds of companies lease land from UT to drill for oil and gas. Managed by University Lands — which has a similar arrangement with the Texas A&M System — these 2 million acres of UT lands are home to more than 9,000 oil and gas wells. This land, and the oil and gas that’s extracted from it, generates millions of dollars of revenue for the UT System. But in addition to revenue, oil and gas production also produces significant emissions of a powerful climate pollutant: methane.
RRC’s information on oil and gas venting and flaring practices provides a critical measure of the efficiency of the oil and gas industry. With improved access to and clarity of information on venting and flaring volumes, scientists and the general public can better understand why, when and where some types of organizations and wells vent or flare at a higher rate than others.
The Texas Railroad Commission must be properly funded to keep pace with growth and technology. It needs more staff, more field inspectors and technology upgrades to execute its work with greater transparency and efficiency.
It’s clear that deregulation hasn’t fulfilled its potential. Yet, Texas’s independent streak and history of bold innovation in energy means you can never count it out. The state is also uniquely positioned to benefit from a combination of advanced consumer technology and widespread access to rich smart meter data in Texas.
State regulators ultimately tasked with spending the VW settlement should use the money to get diesel vehicles off the road when and where we can, both for air quality purposes, and to reduce our dependence on OPEC oil.
Beyond his bullish stance on domestic energy production and proven management prowess, energy secretary nominee Rick Perry’s philosophy about the role of government in general will be a shot in the arm for America, which has been bogged down for too long by bureaucrats and over-regulation.
With energy production crossing new borders in the Gulf of Mexico, our research collaborations must do the same if they wish to keep up.
Securing the Texas electric grid provides a golden opportunity for our state to lead the nation and ensure that when the lights go out in other parts of the country, they stay on in Texas.
When Congress passed a five-year extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit last year, it gave Texans an opportunity to make an investment in renewable energy that can help create well-paying jobs and maintain our energy security — all while keeping tax dollars in Texas.
The Texas economy depends heavily on the oil and gas industry, which represents 23 percent of our gross domestic product. As global economies shift away from fossil fuels, our state is under severe risk, unless we adapt and embrace clean energy.
The precedent Hunt Consolidated's proposal to structure its takeover of Oncor as a real estate investment trust may not be in the best interest of energy customers.
In the wake of President Barack Obama’s announcement that his administration would not support the Keystone XL Pipeline, it is constructive to remember that another Washington influence is already impacting pipeline development in Texas.
New EPA rules pose a direct threat to our oil and natural gas revolution. Even worse, they are largely a Washington-designed solution still searching for a problem.
In order to keep production going, and our economy growing, energy producers need access to the global market. The crude oil export ban represents an outdated, protectionist policy that negatively impacts our national security interests.
It's not just the royalties and taxes going to public schools. The energy industry is also partnering with some of Texas' leading colleges and universities.
After the dramatic series of legal and legislative twists and turns sparked by a citizen-led effort to ban fracking in Denton, what have we learned? And what's next for Texas?
Oil prices have prompted a few mid-course corrections, but there’s still huge potential in the opening of the Mexican market — especially for Texas and the neighboring state of Tamaulipas.
Texans know from experience that local officials and the oil and gas industry can work together to reach reasonable compromises. A plan up for debate in the Legislature preserves that legacy.
It’s a fraught topic in our state, but two military experts this week made a novel, persuasive argument in front of a skeptical House committee.
President Obama has said we can’t drill our way to lower gas prices. Respectfully, Mr. President, “yes we can.” And yes we did. No one knows that better than Texans.
As an oil price slump costs our state jobs and revenue, there's something Washington can do to help the U.S. cement its status as a global energy superpower: lift the outdated ban on crude oil exports.
No one really knows what plunging oil prices will mean for Texas’ economy, but rising fears of a 1980s-style recession are overblown — at least for now. Things have changed since the last bust, when I was the state's chief revenue estimator.
North Texas homeowners have complained for years that drilling has contaminated their drinking water. Our new research suggests they’re right. Here's how the state could help put this controversy to bed.
With debate over the pipeline likely to flare again soon, there are still legitimate reasons to support the project — as long as environmental protections are put in place.
A prohibition on fracking in Denton will make the city healthier, safer and more prosperous. Next month, voters should ignore the industry's attempts at deception and exaggeration and approve the ban.
A measure on the November ballot in Denton won’t just ban fracking. It’ll effectively prohibit all drilling in the city, leading to economic damage and putting property rights at risk. Denton voters should say no to the ban.
As the former mayor of DISH, I know a thing or two about the impacts of natural gas development in Texas — especially the creeping threat of eminent domain. Texans deserve better than what the Legislature has given us.
Though it may make for strange bedfellows, Houston's vibrant arts scene has forged an enduring relationship with the city's oil and gas industry. And while the alliance has raised ethical questions, I, for one, am thankful for it.
Climate policy to eliminate fossil fuels is on a collision course with an unprecedented boom in oil and gas production. Energy is at a crossroads, and Texas has the most at stake.
When it comes to the office of Texas railroad commissioner, there’s not a more important elected position in Texas — and perhaps the nation — that so few people seem to know or care about. Here's how I would increase public trust in this vital agency.
The notion that Texas leaders should base their decisions on projections and not on actual observations flies in the face of rational decision-making.
Texas and the rest of the U.S. should embrace Mexico’s sweeping new overhaul of its oil and gas industry. The future of energy independence in North America may depend on it.
Texas — a place where the energy economy isn’t under siege by ideologues and special interests — shows exactly how Americans will benefit once the nation overcomes those awful influences.
The fight over fracking has never made much room for nuance. As oil and gas continues to boom in Texas and beyond, we need smart, constructive debate.