DENHAM, Texas — A new bill would ban state-run oil and gas companies from using solar panels on wind farms.
It also would restrict the use of wind energy in a state with more than 400,000 solar-powered turbines.
The bill would go into effect in January.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would ban solar energy on state-owned wind farms, requiring developers to purchase renewable energy credits and then to use them for the project.
The committee also voted unanimously to ban the installation of wind turbines in the state’s parks, forests and open space, and to prohibit the use or production of wind-powered vehicles on state land.
The state is home to more than 1.6 million wind turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Fort Worth, said the bill would help protect the state from the threat of solar and wind turbines and would protect taxpayers by keeping oil and natural gas companies out of the state.
“It’s a very important bill,” Gallardo said.
“It’s important for the environment.”
The bill would also restrict wind energy to no more than 500 kilowatts per megawatt hour, the maximum amount of energy that can be produced by wind turbines.
In Texas, that’s a bit more than enough to power nearly two-thirds of the power needs of about 7.5 million homes, Gallardo added.
It would also require wind energy companies to pay the Texas Public Utilities Commission for the cost of installing and maintaining wind turbines that they use on their property.
Texas is among the few states without such a requirement, Gallardo said.
Galloway is not the only Republican to propose a solar ban.
Sen. Don Huffines, R-San Antonio, proposed legislation that would prohibit solar energy in the entire state from July 1, 2020, through the end of 2019.
The proposal would also ban the use and production of all other types of solar energy except for energy generated by solar photovoltaic panels, he said.
The Senate Energy Committee is expected to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.
Texas’ wind energy boom began in 2008 with the state establishing the Texas Wind Energy Commission, which sets wind energy policies.
The agency now oversees about 1.2 million wind energy turbines, which produce about 25 percent of Texas’ total electricity production, according a Texas Department of Energy website.
Follow Elizabeth Knoller on Twitter: @lknoller