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Issue Position: Energy

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Energy Fuels Texas Growth

Long the premier state and national leader in petroleum production and refining, Texas has been a perennial economic power source fueling growth and expansion across the United States and the hopes and dreams of many Americans for more than a century. When the nation wanted -- and needed -- oil and gas energy for business, industry and global expansion, they came to Texas.

The same holds true today, although with a slight 21st century twist. Texas' energy production is still dominated by fossil fuels -- oil, gas and coal; however, renewable energy, such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, are gaining in popularity, and now Texas leads the nation in renewable energy potential, as well.

Texas and energy go hand-in-hand.

Energy -- its production, use and conservation -- are vitally important to the economic health and well-being of the Lone Star State, and Susan Combs has ensured the Comptroller's Office is a valuable resource and strategic partner for information on the dynamic potential and prospects of the state's vast energy industry.

The Texas Energy Industry

In 2008 Susan released The Energy Report, the first of its kind in the nation, which provides a comprehensive review and assessment of Texas energy options. The report also is a major reference tool on the state's energy options that will impact future energy policy and guide decisions affecting statewide and regional economic development.

Texas leads the nation in energy production with almost 11 trillion BTUs in total energy produced in 2006, almost 16 percent of the entire United States. Most of this was from oil and gas, which continue to be the state's primary nonrenewable energy sources. Texas has the largest share of the nation's fossil fuel reserves, with nearly one-fourth of all U.S. oil reserves and almost 30 percent of the country's natural gas. Texas is the national leader in refining capacity, with 26 refineries producing 4.8 million barrels of oil per day, more than a quarter of all U.S. refining capacity.

In addition, other nonrenewable sources such as the state's lignite coal reserves and uranium deposits not only help generate electrical power, but jobs and paychecks as well.

Currently, Texas' renewable energy sources are making a minimal impact on the power grid, but Texas leads the United States in wind power generation and has surpassed California as the nation's largest wind energy producer. Texas produces enough wind energy to power about 1 million homes.

Texas also is the nation's largest producer of biodiesel transportation fuel, another alternative energy source made from animal or vegetable materials. In 2007, Texas produced about 73 million gallons of biodiesel but has a capacity for more than 100 million gallons a year. An additional 87 million gallons in capacity is under construction.

The Energy Report from the Comptroller's Office not only looks at the industry as a whole and its importance to Texas, but also reviews 17 fuel sources ranging from crude oil and natural gas to ocean energy and landfill gas in areas, such as production, availability and costs and benefits.

Texas leads the country in energy consumption, as well, with the state's population increase, growth in business and industry and vast highway system accounting for most of the use of oil, natural gas and electricity. Texas uses almost 12 percent of the total U.S. energy.

This use adds up economically. Adjusted for inflation, Texas' energy expenditures in 2005 were at an all-time high. In 2005 Texans spent $114 billion on energy, accounting for nearly 11 percent of all U.S. energy expenditures.

Energy production and use also impact the state's economy. At the height of the oil boom in the early 1980s, the industry accounted for more than one-fourth of the gross state product and of state government revenues. In 2006 the oil and gas industry contributed about 15 percent of the gross state product. In the same year, the Texas energy industry as a whole employed almost 375,000 people who earned more than $35 billion in total wages.

Saving Energy at Home

Home energy use accounts for about 14 percent of all the energy used in Texas. With the state's growing population and increased demand for more electrical products, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts residential demand for electricity will increase by 39 percent by 2030.

Along with the increased use, higher fuel prices have been putting a strain on consumers' pocketbooks. Texans are paying an average 56 percent more each year for electricity than the national residential average.

Homeowners are looking for ways to save and cut costs. Consumers also need easy-to-understand information when buying a home or making energy-saving improvements around the house. In 2008 Susan published The Home Efficiency Energy Report, the results of the first-ever comprehensive study to identify ways to provide understandable energy efficiency information to consumers.

The State Energy Conservation Office also has energy-saving tips and information for homeowners and other residential users on its website. House Bill 3070, passed in the 80th legislative session, required SECO to conduct a comprehensive study to identify ways to furnish Texans with home energy efficiency information. The Energy Systems Lab at Texas A&M University is working with SECO on an online tool for home sellers and home buyers to score a home's energy efficiency and receive an energy comparison score.

State Energy Conservation Office

A division at the Comptroller's Office under Susan is the State Energy Conservation Office that works with consumers, businesses and local governments to maximize energy conservation and use. SECO administers a wide rage of programs and projects focusing on conservation and the use of renewable energy and provides technical resources and funding for energy initiatives impacting governments, colleges and universities, industries, and homes and families.

Some of SECO's programs include:

* The LoanSTAR Revolving Loan Program has saved Texas taxpayers more than $200 million through energy-efficiency projects for state agencies, colleges, universities, school districts, county hospitals and county governments.
* The Schools/Local Government Program has helped more than 3,500 schools and local government entities establish energy-efficiency programs.

The Comptroller's State Energy Conservation Office will receive about $240 million from the 2009 federal stimulus package. The money will be used for the State Energy Program to promote energy conservation and efficiency through initiatives such as training, technical assistance, education and implementing projects and for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program, a new federal resource designed to reduce energy use, encourage economic development and create or retain jobs.

From energy producers to homeowners, businesses and other end users, Susan's energy focus is to provide Texans with the most comprehensive, reliable information and resources possible on production, use and conservation. With its vast supply of diverse energy sources, Texas will continue to have a significant role in setting the national energy debate, and the Comptroller's Office is the natural starting point for up-to-date information on Texas energy and its related industries.


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