Some people believe that the only way to fix the problems of climate change is through the power of the market, while others believe that stronger regulation is the secret to improving the markets.
The truth is in the middle of the two, and that’s what the majority of people want. The problem facing the people who are protesting for more regulation is that the country is split on the issue of climate change, and because of that not everyone wants taxes like the Carbon Tax because that means more regulation.
In the state of Texas this is one of the problems that are facing the state, and because of that, the solution to fixing the environment there is through the power of the market, and it’s one of those things that’s actually working.
Not only is the power of the market working, but there are some who are sending the message of the benefits of clean energy loud and clear.
The city of Georgetown is mostly a Republican city that has made the transition to 100 percent renewable energy, and they did it in 2015. The city’s General Manager Utilities Jim Brigs clarified on the reasons for this energy transition, “We didn’t do this to save the world-we did this to get a competitive rate and reduce the risk for our consumers.” Briggs also mentioned that the switch to renewable will hedge against future fuel and regulatory risks.
This is something that has become extremely relevant in this country. People in this country no matter what side of the spectrum they are on, pay with their dollars. To the critics against the reasoning on why a city like Georgetown will increase their renewables by 100 percent; it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that the move is going to slash air pollution and turn the city into a cleaner place.
The move is also economically smart because it has brought down the price of electricity, which also brought millions of dollars in new investment towards the city. To add on to that Georgetown isn’t the only example in Texas of the state moving towards solar for reasons other than helping the environment. The reason for this as mentioned before is Economics.
H-E-B is central Texas’ leading grocery chain, and it is really popular for reasons more than just being extremely inexpensive; it’s been a driving force for the community, and for the people around Texas. During Hurricane Iver, H-E-B was at the forefront of being a good neighbor to the community with not only lending a hand to those in need but also with donations towards those affected by the hurricane.
Not only are they a company who leads with the good deeds that they do every single day, but they are also a company that believes in solar! They are now the largest owner of solar power systems in the entire region where they are at. “Part of H-E-B’s responsibility […] is to improve our use of natural resources, which we hope will also lower energy costs.”
A multinational personal care company known as the Kimberly-Clark Corporation is also headquartered in Texas, it is another company that has set its ambitions to become more energy efficient. By 2022 the company’s goal is to reduce its greenhouse gas by 20 percent. Kimberly-Clark is currently purchasing 25 MW of electricity from wind facilities in Texas and Oklahoma. With this purchase, it is predicted to be as low as 25 percent reduction in emissions as soon as the end of this year. To put into perspective the reductions is the equivalent of removing over 116,178 vehicles off of the road.
This is really amazing, and the switch is going to save the company millions of dollars off of their energy costs.
Companies and cities aren’t the only ones fighting for a cleaner future in the great state of Texas because schools are also leading the charge in this battle for a cleaner Texas.
In 2015 the Austin based Huston-Tolltsen University became the first private black college or university to power its university building using solar energy. 240kW is the amount of solar the company is using to do this, and as much as 10 percent is used by the school itself. That’s not the only thing the University did; it also committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2048.
Another school in Austin is also making a big splash in creating a solar run future. Austin Independent School District (ISD) is making a commitment to purchase 30 percent of its electricity from renewables. Austin ISD is now one of the largest subscribers of the Austin Energy GreenChoice program. The school receives 13 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and it ranks second in the whole nation of K-12 school purchases.
Texas isn’t the only state that is having businesses turn to Solar, despite the majority of the state not seeing climate change as any threat. The debate over climate change is a failure because in the past 10 years very little improved through regulations or taxes, because of it. Instead, action by cities, schools, non-profits, and businesses has progressed the world towards a cleaner future.
Economics is the reason why Texas is becoming a cleaner state, and it’s only just the beginning.