Dallas and Houston could meet most of their new power needs over the next 15 years with greater efficiency and renewable energy sources, according to a study released this week.
According to the study by the Washington-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, 101 percent of Dallas- Fort Worth’s load growth and 76 percent of Houston’s load growth between now and 2023 could be handled by programs that promote energy efficieny – such as better building codes and the use of more efficient appliances.
The biggest savings, however, would come through expansion of existing programs that help businesses or companies improve the efficiency of their buildings and equipment (think rebates for adding attic insulation or storm windows), and the greater use of combined heat and power equipment (such as using heat from an industrial process to create steam for power generation, also known as co-generation).
While the most recent Texas Legislative session made some headway in expanding energy efficiency, Neal Elliott, ACEEE’s Industrial Program Director and report co-author, said the state doesn’t need to wait until the 2009 session to continue to do more.
“Two-thirds of the potential savings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and over half of the savings in the Houston area can be realized by local government action. In many cases, local authorities may be more effective than state policies from Austin. In particular, local leadership on combined heat and power, onsite renewables, and buildings represent significant opportunities.”
The reports also suggest the policies could create up to 38,300 net new jobs by 2023.
This is roughly equivalent to the employment that would be directly and indirectly supported by the construction and operation of 300 average manufacturing plants within Texas. This translates into over 11,000 new jobs in each of the metro areas.
The studies can be found here:
Role of Energy Efficiency and Onsite Renewables in Meeting Energy and Environmental Needs in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston/Galveston Metro Areas
The Economic Benefits of an Energy Efficiency and Onsite Renewable Energy Strategy to Meet Growing Electricity Needs in Texas
These studies expand on a report on the potential for efficiency and renewables in Texas as a whole issued in March.
A chart on possible Houston impact.