Texas Needs All Options to Fight Energy Inflation
November 21, 2022
By Bret Biggart
People across Texas and elsewhere are wrestling with inflation, and energy prices are a big reason why.
The cost of natural gas futures has roughly tripled in the last two years. Natural gas prices also soared over the summer, and they’re rising again as weather turns colder and Russia’s war in Ukraine continues to destabilize the market.
Those cost increases are hitting the wallets of utility customers. This pressure on prices highlights the importance of tax credits available to solar customers, which Congress recently voted to enlarge and extend.
Solar power protects people from fluctuating fuel prices and rising energy costs. The panels on Texans’ rooftops help stabilize and cap their electricity bills, no matter what happens in the world.
By locking in benefits for going solar, leaders have created certainty around the single best tool that people have, in Texas and across the country, to be free and safe from the inflation wreaking havoc on energy bills right now. Texas’ solar boom is helping people buy certainty in uncertain times.
State leaders can build on this progress by making it quicker and easier for Texans to activate installed solar panels and start saving money from them. Such customer-centered strategies will be crucial as the state considers solutions to its own energy challenges.
That focus on real, actual people, not just political theory or big corporations, will be crucial as the state continues developing its response to the deadly winter storm of 2021. Texas was broken by Winter Storm Uri, when cold weather spurred deadly blackouts across the state. Officials and leaders have rightly been working ever since to bolster Texas’ power grid and prevent future widespread outages.
Through this process of designing a grid that will better serve us all in the future, decision-makers need to concentrate on serving and supporting Texans — on the families and business owners who make this great state special and keep it running
. That means being clear-eyed about people’s actual electricity needs and the most affordable, sustainable way to meet those needs.
Any effective solution must include a concerted, local strategy to help Texans generate their own affordable solar power.
Such a strategy would ensure that the state can take advantage of these growing power sources, since every kilowatt that a solar customer generates frees up a kilowatt to strengthen the grid.
It also would ensure that the solar panels that Texans are flocking to can be installed and activated as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The state doesn’t need to do anything at all to accelerate this market. It just needs to ensure that no one is slowing it down.
Inflation’s a huge problem. So are blackouts. Our leaders need to embrace every available solution to address them.
They should start with those that do the most good, for the most Texans, at the lowest cost.
That’s the kind of energy leadership that made Texas famous. And in the 21st century, leading on energy means leading in solar.