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Texas increases renewables target by 3000 MW

Texas, already the second largest wind energy producing state in the US after California, has increased its renewable energy target by 3000 MW as part of a two-pronged effort aimed at raising its use of green power. In July, legislators increased the state's landmark renewables portfolio standard (RPS) from 2880 MW to 5880 MW by 2015. The new goal represents about 5% of the state's electricity. By 2025 the target increases to 10,000 MW. The state's previous target of 2880 MW (about 3% of the state's electricity) was enacted in 1999 and will likely be met this year, more than three years ahead of schedule. The second part of the legislation directs the state's public utilities commission to designate "competitive renewable energy zones" where transmission lines will be built to support the renewable energy goal. Lack of transmission has been a significant stumbling block in moving energy from the state's windy western area to the population centres of east Texas. Although the increase in the renewables target is substantial, one of the bill's sponsors has pledged to look at the prospect of increasing the goal even more in future legislative sessions. Before the recent legislation passed, one of the state's legislative houses had supported a 7880 MW goal, about 7% of the state's electricity, by 2017. The new renewables goal was set during a special session of the legislature, called in late June and concluded a month later.

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