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Blue, Red - or Green?

New colors from the U.S.: where the affiliation to either the Republicans is marked with red or the Democrats with blue, a new colour could be added next year. Texas could make a remarkable step towards green in 2020.

The political color spectrum in the U.S. is not as colorful as shown here (Image: Pixabay)The political color spectrum in the U.S. is not as colorful as shown here (Image: Pixabay)

It's not a matter of political affiliation with the Greens, who are insignificant in the U.S., but of the state's energy supply. Nevertheless, Texas, which is classically held by the Republicans, has undergone considerable development in recent years. Next year, wind power generation could overtake coal power generation for the first time, as the independent energy research company Rystad Energy predicts.

Texas has a long history of power generation. Even today, the state accounts for 40 percent of the total U.S. oil production and almost 25 percent of gas production. So it's not surprising that the domestic energy mix is dominated by natural gas.

Gas use in Texas is very prominent, but something interesting is happening... (Image: Rystad Energy)

In the meantime, however, growth in the area of power generation has mainly taken place in the wind industry. "Our forecasts suggest that onshore wind in Texas will generate about 87 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity by 2020, versus the anticipated 84.4 TWh from coal," says Carlos Torres-Diaz, head of gas market research at Rystad Energy. "Texas is just one of many red states that have recently 'gone green' by harnessing their great wind generation potential."

In fact, it's remarkable that the Republican-dominated states that voted for Donald Trump in 2016 have become the drivers of the U.S. energy transition. So far, the share of renewable energy, i.e. wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, has always been higher in democratically shaped states, but this is slowly changing. A total of 27 percent of the energy in blue states comes from renewables, while the red states account for 13 percent.

The Republican (red) states are at the forefront of wind energy use (Image: Rystad Energy)

"However, our view is that renewable energy technologies are reaching a level where new installations are not driven solely by policies or subsidies, but by economics," Torres-Diaz commented.

And there's a clear trend towards green energy in the economy. Led by the country's major IT companies, more and more American companies are relying on Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to generate green electricity. Support comes from all branches of industry, whether it's food industry (Budweiser) or retail (Walmart). Even a president who's always been averse to wind energy can do nothing about it.

Effective in advertising: Budweiser ran a spot at this year's Superbowl that referred to the PPA (Image: Enel)

Quite the opposite, because especially in the 'heartlands' in the middle of the continent, renewables can now count on support from both political camps anyway. This still up-and-coming industry creates new jobs and generates high tax revenues for the communities.

"Even without government subsidies, wind will likely remain competitive in the Midwest and south-central US markets. Further expansion in the Rockies and California is likely, as state governments pursue more carbon-friendly energy solutions. However, downside risk to wind could materialize in the mid-Atlantic and New England states, as the loss of subsidies will make it harder to clinch new market share," says Rystad Energy.

In addition to onshore wind, which has dominated the market to date, offshore wind could also be used to generate energy in the foreseeable future once the regulatory hurdles have been removed. At the moment, the Atlantic coastal states are particularly interested in setting up this new industry in their states. Good prospects for further green states.

Katrin Radtke
USA, US, Donald Trump, Texas, red, blue, green, Republicans, Democrats, party, wind industry, onshore, offshore, development

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