Texas has breathing room as it considers its energy future, according to a new study by Rice University atmospheric scientist Daniel Cohan. But the researcher warned that the state should make wise decisions to assure the supply of electricity meets increasing demand and does so in a green manner.
In a white paper produced for a think tank called Texas Business for Clean Air, Cohan and his co-authors argue that Texas is positioned well for the anticipated growth of its population over the next few decades.
With sufficient generation of electricity to handle its current needs and more renewable resources coming online, the state is acting aggressively through a $5 billion investment to add transmission capabilities, Cohan said.
“Our analysis shows that cost-effective efforts to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy and demand response could offset virtually all projected growth in peak demand through the year 2023 and beyond,” he wrote in the paper, “Policy Options for Clean Air and Sustainable Energy in Texas.”
TBCA Executive Director Margaret Keliher said the paper prompted her organization to file eight bills with the Texas Legislature on energy and environmental initiatives. They are among more than 100 renewable energy bills filed for the current Texas legislative session.
The paper was co-authored by Rice postdoctoral research associate Birnur Buzcu-Guven and undergraduate Daniel Hodges-Copple, along with Dan Bullock and Ross Tomlin, both of the Houston Advanced Research Center.
Cohan, an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, is the recent recipient of a prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER award. A native of Dallas, he came to Rice from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, where he served as an air quality expert.