Wind power sweeps Texas into higher green spot

Texas is the third-friendliest state for renewable energy, rising in the biannual Ernst & Young ranking because of improvements to transmission lines that carry wind-generated power across the state.

Texas jumped two spots in Ernst & Young’s renewable energy attractiveness index released this month, behind only California and Colorado. The oil and gas powerhouse is home to one of the nation’s most robust wind energy networks, though its solar program has failed to meet its potential, Ernst & Young’s report noted.

“Despite enviable solar intensity, Texas has lagged behind its neighboring southwestern states in solar development, likely due to the state’s concentration on wind power and well-known transmission issues,” the authors wrote.

The state ranked third on the wind index, scoring 73 on the 100-point scale. It ranked eighth on the solar index, scoring 63.

The Ernst & Young index judges each state on its attractiveness for wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energies, based on the resource availability and the pricing and tax environment. California remained the nation’s renewable energy capital, ranking No. 1 for both wind and solar energy and scoring highest for overall renewable energy friendliness.

Michael Bernier, a senior manager at Ernst & Young, noted that the expiration of federal incentives for wind and solar led to a flurry of renewable energy projects in 2012, as developers rushed to take advantage of the federal programs.

The drive for renewable energy probably will continue for the next four years, Bernier added.

“The second Obama administration bodes well for the prioritization of renewable energy programs and incentives,” Bernier said in a written statement. “What remains to be seen is whether a divided Congress will support the president’s renewable energy agenda.”