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The bright future of Texas energy

March 18, 2024

By Jeremy B. Mazur

If our state’s economy had a heartbeat, it would be the energy sector. It drives more than one-third of our economy and generates more than 12% of the nation’s total electricity production.

For the past year, Texas 2036 has been digging into the data to understand what Texas’ energy future could look like. The resulting Future of Texas Energy dashboard describes a path toward energy abundance and economic prosperity, but we must act now to realize this ideal future.

Our models tell us that by 2050, Texas’ energy output could surge by as much as 59%, fueled by greater use of both hydrocarbon and renewable sources. This expanded production would generate four million new jobs here in Texas, creating new opportunities for more families to share in this new economic growth.

At the same time, our electricity demand will double, underscoring the urgent need for clear-eyed planning to ensure energy remains reliable and affordable while seeking ways to be cleaner and more efficient.

Producing jobs and supporting a growing economy while remaining vigilant about our environmental impact requires both innovation and adaptability. Just as advances in geology and engineering vaulted Texas to the top of American energy production, emerging technologies like battery storage, hydrogen and carbon capture are forming the foundation for the sustainable energy industries of the future.

While we should continue pursuing the research and development necessary to accomplish these dual goals of economic growth and environmental stewardship, a shift away from energy sources like natural gas would result in a self-defeating loss of jobs and economic growth.

Thanks to breakthroughs in energy technology, however, we know that we can have both reliable, affordable energy and lower emissions – and energy technology is on pace to continue improving. Projections provided in our new Future of Texas Energy dashboard indicate that by 2050, Texas could see eight million more light-duty vehicles on the road using 40% less fuel thanks to advancements in hydrogen and electric vehicle technology.

The data is clear: by embracing innovation and pursuing a comprehensive, forward-looking approach to future energy development, we can ensure that Texas thrives economically while producing energy more efficiently with less environmental impact.

It’s the next Texas Miracle, and it’s ours for the taking. This vision for the future includes a robust and resilient economy, roads filled with cleaner vehicles and more than 40 million Texans thriving on abundant and affordable energy.

This bright future of shared prosperity is possible but is something we must plan for. The decisions we make today will determine whether we are ultimately able to enjoy it.

But don’t just take our word for it – check out the models and data in our online dashboard and join this conversation we are having about the future of energy in Texas.

Jeremy B. Mazur is a senior policy advisor for Texas 2036, a nonprofit public policy organization building long-term, data-driven strategies to secure Texas’ prosperity.

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