Among the things that are bigger in Texas is the number of reasons why farmers and ranchers there are embracing renewable energy, the Financial Times reports. The largest renewable energy producer in the country (and if the secessionist movement had its way, would be the fifth-largest wind energy producing country in the world) is also home to an enormous agriculture industry and the two sectors are becoming increasingly symbiotic.
“As is usually the case in farming, there are a range of reasons [for adopting renewable energy] and, usually, people have a few on any given farm,” Cathy Day, climate policy co-ordinator at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, told the FT. “They’re incorporating solar as either a way to reduce their costs or as a way to sell a little bit of power and make some money back from the same land.” Interest in small-scale systems has also increased following the failure of the grid and gas system last winter that plunged the state into deadly blackouts.
Grid still vulnerable
Experts warn the Texas grid is still vulnerable, in part because of loopholes in new weatherization requirements. “If we see a recurrence of the storm we saw last year, people should probably be worried,” Public Citizen’s Adrian Shelley told the Texas Tribune. The Texas Public Utility Commission is considering changes that would undermine renewable generation and prop up gas plants that, according to the state’s grid operator, had greater generation losses than any other power source during the storm. (Ag & renewables: FT $; Russian-backed secessionist movement: The Bulwark; Grid vulnerability: Texas Tribune and NBC, AP; PUC: E&E News)