The American Lung Association (ALA) recently released the 2015 State of the Air report. Unfortunately, they found the quality of air remains mixed throughout Texas and the United States.
Created using data reported as part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) national monitoring network, the report analyzes particle and ozone pollution, two of the most ubiquitous pollutants in the country. Though numerous cities across the country saw an improvement in air quality, conditions in other cities declined. Read More
Drayage truck projects can qualify for grants worth up to 50 percent of their cost.
A green supply chain is great for business and the environment, but it’s not every day organizations get an opportunity for help moving their sustainability goals forward. So it was terrific news when EPA last week announced a new opportunity for funding to reduce diesel emissions pollution. Goods movement projects, such as those involving freight and port operations, will be given priority for the more than $13 million in Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding. As the deadline for applications is June 15, it’s important to get to work now. Since EDF has partnered on a variety of projects in the past to bring these federal funds to Texas to help us meet our air quality challenges, we’ve prepared a DERA 101 primer with suggestions to consider for entities considering the opportunity.
There is enough solar energy potential in Texas to power the world twice over. Yet currently we rank 10th in the nation (behind New Jersey) with 330 megawatts (MW), which is enough to power about 57,000 homes. Texas is a state of almost nine million households. That's a lot of rooftops, and when you add the number of commercial and industrial rooftops, parking lots, and garages, we are talking about a significant amount of surface area.
Meanwhile, the cost of solar panels has dropped 80 percent since 2008 and prices for rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems have declined markedly in recent years, dropping 29 percent from 2010 to 2013. Moreover, jobs in the solar industry are booming –SolarCity is hiring significantly more people than leading tech companies like Twitter.
So, what will it take to energize rooftop solar growth in Texas? Well, a recent announcement from one of Texas' “frenemies” may be part of the solution. Read More
Partnering for clean air in Houston (Roger Guenther, Port of Houston; Gina McCarthy, EPA; Janiece Longoria, Port of Houston; Jack Steele, Houston-Galveston Area Council; Elena Craft, EDF)
In our efforts to improve air quality in Texas, we often work with diverse partners on projects that deliver emission reductions or bring clean technologies to market. We help pursue funding opportunities for projects whenever we can, to ensure that that they have the resources they need for success. So we are pleased to report two successful awards funded from the EPA to reduce emissions from drayage trucks operating at the Port of Houston. Nearly $2 million in federal funding, along with more than $2.5 million in local funds, will be used to clean up some of the dirtiest vehicles operating at the port – drayage trucks.
- The first project is a partnership between the Port of Houston Authority and the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) to replace 14 drayage trucks that carry containers and other cargo to and from the port.
- The second project will be administered directly by the Port of Houston Authority. Two companies that operate at the port, Richardson Companies and Gulf Winds, will replace 25 drayage trucks from their existing fleets.
Earlier this week, I testified at a hearing of the Texas House Committee on Environmental Regulation, specifically on how Texas will respond to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP), the nation’s first-ever limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. But before I went to the Capitol, my three-year-old daughter asked me where I was going. I told her I was going to work, and she asked me, “Mommy, what are you going to save?” I replied that I was going to save water, and she said, “Good job, Mommy.”
That’s exactly what the CPP could do for Texas: save millions of gallons of water each year by encouraging the state to switch from polluting power sources (like coal plants) to non-polluting sources (such as wind and solar farms) and increase no-water solutions like energy efficiency.
It’s no secret that Texas is currently in the midst of a multi-year drought – yet the vast majority of our electricity comes from sources that contribute to this prolonged drought, namely coal, nuclear, and natural gas. All of these energy sources require copious amounts of water to produce electricity. Read More
The story of Texas wind energy is a success, but it's an odd history.
In 1999, when Texas deregulated the energy market, a deal was struck to include a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), a requirement that power companies source a certain amount of their electricity from renewable energy by certain dates. Texas surpassed the original targets, as well as subsequently increased targets, eventually making Texas the U.S. wind leader. In fact, the wind industry’s success has been an integral part of the "Texas Miracle" of job creation, especially in West Texas, which hasn't seen an economic boom like this since before the Great Depression.
However, state Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) and other legislators think that, because Texas blew past its wind goals, we can call it a "mission accomplished" and repeal the RPS. Repealing Texas’ wind goals at this time, though, could undermine Texas’ wind industry, potentially eliminating thousands of jobs and halting millions of investment dollars Texas receives every year.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its annual U.S. Wind Industry Market Report for 2014. The report puts Texas on a pedestal, highlighting how the Lone Star State is home to 37 percent of newly installed wind capacity in 2014. Of the 12,700 megawatts (MW) under construction across the country, approximately 7,000 MW are in Texas. Unsurprisingly, Texas leads the country with over 17,000 wind industry jobs. In the list of the Top 10 Public Utilities and Public Utility Districts with Wind Capacity on System across the U.S., Texas’ own CPS Energy in San Antonio and Austin Energy rank first and third, respectively. Read More