Moving in one direction

Published 4:10 pm Sunday, July 28, 2019

When the CEO of a state’s largest and oldest power company says “We believe climate change is real,” then pledges to go carbon-free by 2050, that’s something to think about.

When a state is the largest producer and consumer of electricity in the U.S. and its electrical flow manager issues a report saying wind power has edged out coal this year for the first time, that’s also something to think about.

The first state mentioned is New Jersey; the second is Texas. That’s right — wind power is now the second-largest supplier of energy in the Lone Star State, powering 22% of the state’s electrical demands, second only to natural gas at 38%.

It’s been a slow process. In 2003, wind supplied less than 1% of the Texas’ power needs. By 2018, it had moved up to 19%. As wind power has increased, the demand for coal decreased, from 37% in 2013 to just over 21% so far this year.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Center, non-hydroelectric renewables such as solar and wind will be the fastest-growing source of U.S. electricity for the next two years. The largest amount of new wind capacity — 11 gigawatts — is scheduled to come online later this year.

Half that will come from three states: Texas, Iowa and Illinois.

Texas, Iowa and Illinois are leading the way in wind energy. California, North Carolina and Arizona are leading the way in solar energy. The U.S., however, does rely primarily on natural resources, predominantly natural gas and coal.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for solar photovoltaic installers are expected to grow 105 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than average for all occupations. Employment of wind turbine service technicians is projected to grow 96 percent from 2016 to 2026, the Bureau’s job outlook handbook states.

Creating more jobs is great. Moving in the direction of renewable resources, as opposed to continuing in the direction of depleting the limited ones we have, is even better.