What is the outlook for the Texas renewable energy sector?

September 16, 2020   By Dhoof Mohamed

What is the outlook for the Texas renewable energy sector?

The Texas renewable energy sector has seen a year full of highs and lows over the years. In the beginning of 2020, local governments and the private sector fueled optimism for renewable energy by outlining their goals for multiple billion- dollar investments within renewable energy.

Due to a successful 2019 and an optimistic start to 2020, several Texas cities were becoming industry leaders within renewable energy nationwide. There were numerous new jobs projected, positive community impact and many other residual benefits from the growing Texas renewable energy market.

Nearly all the momentum generated in the first few months of 2020 came to a halt after the emergence of COVID-19. The negative impact of COVID-19 on the renewable energy market cannot be overstated; within the first few months alone, hundreds of thousands of workers lost their jobs and many the corporations stopped any renewable projects. Exxon Mobil alone cut its spending in the Permian Basin by over $10 billion, causing economic backlash for contractors and employees across the Lone Star State.

The renewable energy industry struggled to recover

As lockdown and stay at home orders loosened up in Texas, the renewable energy industry began to rebound slightly as employees went back to work. Investments in renewable energy have restarted in the summer months and they are expected to continue for the remainder of the year. Several wind and solar projects were deployed and companies that previously halted projects resumed work.

Morale for the renewable energy industry is has increased from virtually all key shareholders: renewable energy businesses, the government and the local communities. In August, several colleges have made the commitment to going fully renewable for their energy needs. This is historic for the Texas renewable energy industry because it marks the first schools in Texas to go fully renewable. On September 1st, Austin Community College became the first community college in Texas to use 100% renewable energy. This trend is expected to continue and it benefits the renewable energy sector immensely.

Renewable energy industry adjusts to pandemic

There are several key recommendations that must be followed to ensure that the renewable market rebounds. These include:

  • Following health and safety recommendations. Renewable energy employers must enforce social distancing and the wearing of masks to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks at their offices. Following COVID-19 protocols will enable the renewable market to get back to work and stimulate a much-needed economic recovery.
  • Cooperation with local governments. Local city and county governments have the ability to influence how businesses return to work. Although some renewable energy work is considered essential, leaders within the industry should meet with government officials to talk about how the industry can move forward with COVID-19. It will take both governments and private companies to work together to ensure the market rebounds for the remainder of 2020.
  • Incident response. Renewable energy companies must have complete protocols and incidence responses for all COVID-related events. Whether it’s an outbreak, return to lockdown, etc., companies must have a plan and a backup plan to maximize the chance of their business staying open.

While the past few months have been grim for the renewable energy industry, Q3 and Q4 are looking much more hopeful. Through a combination of proper government guidance along with private enterprise, the industry is could experience a significant rebound.

 

Dhoof Mohamed writes about energy and IT topics for various clients. His academic interests include solar energy initiatives and the future of sustainable energy. His articles have appeared on SiteProNews, ChooseFlorida and the office of the U.S. Embassy. You can reach him at dhoof@dhoofmohamed.com.

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