middle of the pack

Report: Texas has promising capacity for clean electricity, but still falls behind nationally

In Texas only 38 percent of the state’s electricity capacity comes from clean electricity. Photo via Getty Images

In a new report that looked at states with the cleanest electricity across the country, Texas seems to have some room for improvement.

According to the report from SmartAsset, Texas has the most clean energy capacity at 56,405 megawatts, but continues to trail states with similar geographic characteristics in overall clean energy prevalence.

Texas has the largest wind capacity to help generate clean energy with over three times more than Iowa, which is the second-biggest wind power producer. Clean electricity made up 57 percent of Iowa’s total energy capacity (22,546.4 megawatts).

However, in Texas only 38 percent of the state’s electricity capacity comes from clean electricity. Texas also has the second-largest solar capacity, which means Texas has the most means, space, and potential to accommodate cleaner electricity.

Texas as a whole, ranked No. 22 on the list for states with the most clean energy. Washington was No.1 and California, comparable in geographic size to Texas, came in at No. 11. California had 44.3 percent of its energy capacity being from clean energy.

SmartAsset compiled its study by comparing the amount of geothermal, solar, wind and nuclear operations as a percentage of a state’s full electricity production capacity. States were ranked based on the percentage of clean energy sources used to generate the total net summer electricity production capacity. According to the report, the 2022 data comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Last year, home service management platform Thumbtack ranked cities based upon solar panel installations. Texas fared better here, and the Lone Star State split up four Californian cities in the top five of that report.

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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