The Midland Reporter-Telegram reported an opinion editorial discussing the crucial role of energy infrastructure projects to the state of Texas. Jeff Clark, President of Advanced Power Alliance and spokesperson Elizabeth Caldwell of Texans for Natural Gas co-write about how Texas is not only the top oil and natural gas producer, but a growing leader in national renewable energy production as well. Clark and Caldwell highlight the important way pipeline infrastructure projects help support green energy:
“Robust pipeline and processing systems carry oil and gas from Texas’s prolific basins to refineries along the coast, LNG export terminals, or other end-use facilities. Similarly, while Texas produced 28 percent of America’s wind power in 2019, much of that clean power would be wasted without a sophisticated network of transmission lines, carrying that power from windy and sunny regions to our population centers.”
Continued growth in the renewable energy sector would not be possible without the help of these important infrastructure projects. Additionally, transporting oil or gas via pipeline is more affordable and safer when compared to transit through truck or rail. Clark and Caldwell go on to highlight the economic benefits to pipeline infrastructure:
“Pipelines and transmission lines also create high paying jobs for Texans. A recent Texas Tech study found that Texas’s pipeline industry alone is expected to contribute $374 billion to the state’s economy from 2015 to 2024 while sustaining 171,000 high-paying jobs annually. For state and local government revenues, that means another $19.5 billion for schools, hospitals, roads and bridges. And tax revenue from wind and solar projects is breathing new life into rural communities while providing payments to landowners hosting these new technologies.”
There is no doubt energy infrastructure projects are critical to providing Texans with a number of job opportunities. Clark and Caldwell also call attention to how the rise of wind and solar projects are also providing the state with a new source of economic revenue, and how the oil and gas industry is partnering with the renewable energy sector. The authors go on to further highlight examples of oil and gas companies undertaking clean energy projects:
“Occidental Petroleum announced plans last year to launch a solar-powered facility to power operations in the Permian Basin. Similarly, Exxon Mobil signed a 12-year agreement in 2018 to partner with Ørsted to supply 500 megawatts of wind and solar power in the Permian. But the oil and natural gas partnership with renewables isn’t limited just to the oil patch. Annova LNG recently announced plans to operate electric-driven compressor engines “through 100 percent carbon-free renewable energy resources” at its planned Port of Brownsville facility. These are just a few ways in which the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy industry are partnering to reduce environmental impacts.”
Maximizing renewable energy production is undoubtedly a goal we must continue to work towards as a nation. While moving to 100% reliance on renewables will take a while, policymakers should consider adopting a realistic approach when it comes to attaining this goal.