State opened for renewable energy grid

by Larry Lemmons

Amarillo, Texas - District 87 Representative David Swinford of Dumas has asked the governor to consider a package of what he calls consumer-friendly energy bills during the special legislative session.

Governor Rick Perry called for a session to commence July 1st.

Swinford is especially happy that a critical piece of legislation was passed on the final day of the last session that clears the way for a renewable energy grid across Texas.

The bill settles questions over a lawsuit over wind lines.  He says, "Some people, mostly oil and gas people that did not want these lines built.

The main reason is, most oil and gas people up here are for it because they understand it. But, what happens is, whenever you put the wind on the line, on the grid, what it does is knocks off the most inefficient old plants. And they happen to be old gas plants."

Now the Public Utilities Commission will be awarding contracts to various builders.  Swinford says, "They're picking the different builders of the lines, assigning them territories to build in, getting cost estimates and, you know, everything is a go now."

He says Texas is an energy state and that the oil and gas industry need not worry about renewable energy competition.

"Texas has become a more renewable energy friendly state. People are understanding that, you can be an oil and gas state and use all the oil and gas we can produce and still put renewable energy in it."

Also, Swinford says Dumas has commitments from an Israeli solar energy company looking to move to Moore County.  When the economy levels out, he says, timelines can be considered.