TexasIsHot – Energy Efficiency


Nov 08 2016

As election day dawns, clean energy comes out on top.

by david in Blog with 0 Comments

One industry stands to gain no matter who wins the election

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Many people assume that the next President will greatly influence the energy landscape in the U.S. In reality, no matter who wins this election, clean energy will continue to win due to its strong fundamentals. As the CEO of a large solar company based in Houston, I spend time talking about energy with fellow Houstonians, many of whom are in the oil and gas industry. There is an assumption by many of these people that I am pulling for one candidate over another because one of them would be better for clean energy. But nothing could be farther from the truth. Over the past ten years, renewable energy has been on a meteoric growth trajectory. We’ve seen this firsthand in Texas, which produces more wind power than any other state. In the past year, wind power accounted for more than 10 percent of the electricity generated in the state.

And now, Texas has the fastest growing utility-scale solar market in the country. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas has estimated that going forward, solar will make up nearly all of Texas’ new power capacity. Texas isn’t unique in this regard. Utilities around the country are shuttering their expensive coal plants in favor of cheaper alternatives like wind and solar. In fact, last year, renewable sources accounted for nearly one-third of all new electrical generation built. Renewable energy sources now account for nearly 20 percent of generating capacity in the U.S. Demand for residential rooftop solar continues to be incredibly strong too. The industry recently hit the 1 million solar installation mark earlier this year. It’s expected that it will only take two years before we reach 2 million solar customers.

Given the continued decrease in prices for clean energy, it will win on its own merits. Regardless of who wins the presidency, clean energy providers will continue to offer the most cost-effective energy options to utilities, businesses and homeowners around the country. The ambivalence regarding the election can be seen across the energy industry. Oil and gas industry workers in the U.S. have contributed about the same amount to both presidential candidates. The American Gas Association has also declined to endorse a candidate. Why is that? It’s because energy markets are, for the most part, open markets that can only be marginally influenced by politicians and their policies. Hillary Clinton wants to make the U.S. a “clean energy superpower”? Great. Donald Trump wants to get rid of regulations for energy companies and try to revive the dying coal industry? No threat. No matter what policies the eventual candidate supports and enacts, the fact remains that clean energy is the most popular and cost effective option for new generation. Other sources of generation just can’t compete in the market. As T. Boone Pickens, one of Texas’ biggest energy investors, has said about the oil and gas industry, “Obama hasn’t shut down drilling–what has shut down drilling is price. I don’t know what Trump can do to help the industry.” Some advocates are worried about what will happen with the Clean Power Plan—Obama’s plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants—depending on who gets elected. But right now, eighteen states are on track to hit the CPP’s 2030 targets with no changes to their current trajectory. It is because of the respective energy costs of each energy source (such as shale gas), not regulations, that the coal industry now employs less than 150,000 people while the solar industry employs more than 200,000 workers. Regardless of who wins, our next president must support competitive energy markets and a modernized grid infrastructure that will allow consumers to become more active participants in the energy market. Competition and consumer choice have been sorely lacking in the U.S. power industry over the past century. More competition in the energy sector and engagement by customers means that consumers come out ahead by getting access to cheaper, cleaner and safer electricity that will help create jobs and grow our economy. Ultimately, the energy sector is being driven by market forces and consumer demand, not by politicians who make promises bigger than they are able to fulfill. The market will ultimately dictate which sources of energy our country will rely on in the future and we fully expect to see the continued expansion of clean energy based on its own merits. I’m looking forward to the election because either way, clean energy will emerge the winner. Commentary by John Berger, the CEO and co-founder of Sunnova. He has more than 20 years of experience in the power industry and previously co-founded SunCap Financial, Standard Renewable Energy and Contango Capital Partners.
John Berger

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  • "“As the Texas population continues to grow, so will our energy consumption needs. We must have tools that empower the consumer to choose their products and monitor their usage wisely. TexasIsHot.org is a great resource, which is exactly what Texans need in today’s deregulated market.”" - State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton), Chairman of House State Affairs Committee
  • "In order to meet our goals, we need programs like the TexasIsHot campaign to help change the way people think about energy." - State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay), Chairman of Senate Natural Resources Committee
  • "Texas leads the nation in wind power because it makes money, not because it makes us feel better. Texans are a practical, penny-wise people who I think will be happy to learn how to save a few bucks on their power bills with the common-sense advice at TexasIsHot.org."-Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office
  • "If every Texas household adopted just a few of the dozens of energy efficiency strategies referenced on TexasIsHot.org, our air would be cleaner, our limited supply of natural resources would be better protected, and our wallets would be heavier..." Kip Averitt (R-Waco), Former State Senator and Chairman of Senate Committee on Natural Resources
  • ”The TexasIsHot campaign targets an important piece of the clean energy effort -- educating Texans on the way we use electricity and quantifying the financial and environmental costs associated with our use. By just reducing the amount of electricity we use and waste, TexasIsHot.org can show people how to save money..." State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin)
  • "Fluctuating energy costs are really hurting Texas families and businesses, but by just making a few easy changes, Texans can cut down on energy waste. TexasIsHot.org is a tremendous resource which arms consumers with the information they need to save themselves money by becoming more energy efficient, and help our environment." State Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-Houston)
  • "Texas is the third fastest growing state in the nation with a net growth of 1,000 people each and every day. This brings many challenges including providing clean and affordable electricity. That is why I'm excited about TexasIsHot.org. This website is an instructional resource that will help Texans save on their energy bills at home and in the workplace..." State Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford)
  • "Now, more than ever, Texans need to work together to conserve energy and to make more efficient use of the energy we consume. The TexasIsHot.org website is an extraordinary resource for people who want to save money and help conserve our precious natural resources..." State Rep. Rafael Anchía (D-Dallas)
  • "By partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition we can extend our effort’s reach, leverage our resources, and ensure that Austin’s energy grid continues to be a test-bed for technologies, products, and services that will transform our state’s energy system." Brewster McCracken, Executive Director, Pecan Street Project
  • "The City of Houston is working harder than ever to make Houston green and energy efficient, but we need the help of every citizen. I would encourage everyone to take a moment to explore the TexasIsHot website to learn what we can all do to make Houston, and the rest of Texas, the green and energy efficient example for the rest of the nation." Mayor Annise Parker, Houston
  • "Energy efficiency is one of our top priorities. Partnering with the TexasIsHot Coalition will help us educate citizens and local businesses about energy-efficient practices in order to meet our goal of reducing residential and commercial electric use." Gavin Dillingham, Chief of Sustainable Growth – General Services Department, for the City of Houston
  • "We are excited about the new partnership that the City of Corpus Christi has entered into with the TexasIsHot Coalition. TexasIsHot.org provides a platform to educate policy makers, city employees and citizens on how to save money and help the environment by conserving energy..." Mayor Joe Adame, Corpus Christi
  • "I am excited that the City of Corpus Christi has joined the TexasIsHot Coalition and look forward to working with them to help Texans become smarter energy users. Energy efficiency is by far the best way for people to reduce their bills and help the environment, but we need education and outreach to make this happen." State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr (D-Corpus Christi)
  • "Because of its fast growth and hot summers, Texas has to get smarter about energy conservation. I applaud the efforts of Corpus Christi and TexasIsHot to help businesses and residents reap the benefits of increased efficiency." Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen)
  • "Energy efficiency is the cleanest, quickest and cheapest way to get smart about energy use, saving both money and the environment. I applaud the TexasIsHot Coalition in their effort to educate Texans about the benefits of energy efficiency..." Luke Metzger, Director, Environment Texas
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