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Abbott And Patrick Double Down On Natural Gas: $10 Billion Expansion Announced

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced they would double the funding for a taxpayer-backed program that provides low-interest loans to build natural gas power plants in the state.

Abbott and Patrick wrote they would seek to expand the program funding from $5 billion to $10 billion to build more new plants as soon as possible. This decision responds to new estimates from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which predict the state may need 152 gigawatts of power within six years, nearly double the current record of 85.5 gigawatts

After the ERCOT announcement, Patrick attacked bitcoin mining companies and data centers as they would be responsible for high energy demand. 

“Crypto miners and data centers will be responsible for over 50% of the added growth. We need to take a close look at those two industries,” He wrote on Twitter/X. “They produce very few jobs compared to the incredible demands they place on our grid. Crypto mining may actually make more money selling electricity back to the grid than from their crypto mining operations.”

In November, voters approved a $10 billion package called the Texas Energy Fund to incentivize new on-demand generation—excluding battery storage—on the ERCOT grid, with $5 billion available in 2024 and 2025. 

“With the new projections for 2030, we will seek to expand the program to $10 billion to build more new plants as soon as possible,” Abbott and Patrick wrote in a joint statement.  “The average plant will take three to four years to complete, and new transmission lines will take three to six years to complete. Texas is currently the fastest state to approve and build new plants and transmission lines because of our low regulations and pro-business policies, but we must move quickly.”

According to the Houston Chronicle, developers have already submitted 125 notices of intent to apply for $38.9 billion in financing for nearly 56 gigawatts of proposed generation, although not all may formally apply by the July 27 deadline.

Critics of the Texas Energy Fund argue that state leaders should focus on programs that reduce energy waste and incentivize energy conservation during peak demand periods, rather than on building gas plants that contribute to climate change.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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