How Green is Texas? Part 1: The Creative Companies

By Vernon Trollinger, April 4, 2016, Energy Efficiency, Green

When Texans observed the first Earth Day in April 1970, the state was America’s petrochemical capital. Oil and gas production gushed, and chemical plants belched smoke into the sky. Forty-six years later, Texas businesses and institutions are still energy leaders, but instead, they’re building energy efficient renewable energy technologies for the 21st Century. In our “How Green is Texas?” series, we’re going to highlight the companies, school districts, universities, and home builders moving Texas towards a greener state of being.

Texas is the nation’s largest and fastest growing consumer of electricity, making it the biggest market in the country. But because the Texas grid limits its access to the rest of the US grid, the state has sought innovative ways to keep the power flowing that are both affordable and environmentally sustainable.

How Green is Texas? Part 1: The Creative Companies

All signs point to Texas being an energy leader for the entire country!

What we’ve discovered is that green practices are good for the government, power companies, and businesses. Distributed energy generation is becoming the future of the Texas grid. That’s why these green and energy efficient enterprises do business in Texas:

1) TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company

How Green is Texas? Part 1: The Creative Companies

Just think of all the wind energy we can generate with our wide-open spaces!

Located in Round Rock, TX, the company got it start building gas turbines in the Austin area in 1972 and expanded into wind turbines in 2006. It builds drives, gearing, and wind turbines to supply wind project development companies plus can support wind farms with repairs and parts that would otherwise need to come from out of state, if not overseas. It’s also the only utility-scale wind turbine manufacturer in Texas making it a key player in the Texas wind power revolution.

2) Mission Solar Energy

How Green is Texas? Part 1: The Creative Companies

There’s so much more to San Antonio than just The Alamo (though it IS pretty great).

With utility scale solar power catching fire nationwide, this San Antonio-based company is a major industry player. Mission Solar’s newest 300-N Series panel have a capacity of 300 -330 watts by using the more efficient n-type cell formulation.Teaming up with the City of San Antonio, Mission Solar has helped turn the city into one of the leading cities for solar energy in the United States. The company is also making the panels for the 110MW Alamo 6 solar project at Bakersfield being developed by its parent company, OCI Solar Power.

3) Shell Technology Center in Houston, Texas (STCH)

Created in 2013 by Royal Dutch Shell, this is the largest of three Shell technology hubs worldwide. STCH employs 2,000 scientists, technologists, engineers, consultants, and supporting personnel working towards improving fuels and fuel systems, including biodiesel made from organic waste and and cellulosic crops. Because biodiesel is a renewable product using CO₂, it reduces net CO₂ emissions by 78 percent compared to petroleum diesel and helps Texas’s farmers by creating a market for their crops.

4) The Cities of Houston and Dallas

How Green is Texas? Part 1: The Creative Companies

Houston! Where industry and green spaces meet to do business.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) had placed the city at the top of its Top 30 Local Government list of the largest green power users. Houston uses nearly one billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually — 3/4 of it’s total power usage. That’s 950,000 MWh of green power per year to run municipal buildings, equipment, and lighting.

How Green is Texas? Part 1: The Creative Companies

And I guess it happens in Dallas, too.

Houston also placed sixth in the National Top 100 list, also part of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Not to be out done was Dallas placing ninth on the list for taking a leadership role in environmental stewardship and sustainability by relying on 100% wind-produced energy.

5) Dell Inc.

This technology manufacturer operates on-site solar photovoltaic generation systems at its Round Rock headquarters. In 2012, Dell’s office, manufacturing and data center facilities generated and purchased 114 million kWh of green electricity and recycled over 7,000 tons of waste. A member of EPA’s Green Power Partnership. since 2007, Dell placed 26th this year on the on the National Top 100 list.

In the next installment of the “How Green is Texas?” series, we’ll look at Texas school districts.

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