From: Julie Breaux, Odessa American
Published February 18, 2005 12:00 AM

Boosting Wind-Energy Standards to Mean 'Significant New Benefits,' Group Says

MIDLAND, Texas — The time is ripe for members of the Texas Legislature to approve a bill increasing renewable energy production standards, Public Citizen of Texas say.


Travis Brown, energy projects director for Public Citizen of Texas, says he is optimistic lawmakers this year will approve legislation raising the renewable energy standard by more than is being proposed by the Texas Energy Planning Council.


"It's looking real good from the governor on down because they realize we need to develop renewable energy sources, and now's the time to do it," Brown said Thursday during a news conference at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin Center for Energy and Economic Diversification.


Public Citizen supports a renewable energy standard of 20 percent of all power production by 2020, as proposed by a coalition of Texas environmental groups. It also backs a standard of 10,000 megawatts by 2025, as proposed by the Union of Concerned Scientists.


State law currently requires 2,800 megawatts of installed renewable capacity by 2009.


Either plan would create "significant new benefits" for the state's economy, Brown said.


The higher wind-energy standard would reduce natural gas demand by 3 percent and electricity prices by 9 percent, or about $5.6 billion, Kate Abend, clean energy field coordinator with the Union of Concerned Scientists, said. "So that's real money back in the pockets of Texas consumers," Abend said.


Ramping up wind energy production would create more than 38,000 jobs and generate an additional $1.1 billion in school property taxes, she said.


The Texas Energy Planning Council is recommending lawmakers approve a mandate of 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2015 with a goal of 10,000 megawatts by 2025.


To see more of the Odessa American, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.oaoa.com. (c) 2005, Odessa American, Texas. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.


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