Energy is the Future of the Rio Grande Valley

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Texas is a nationally known leader in innovation, which should not surprise anyone living here. We’ve enabled our communities to boldly go into the future by leveraging homegrown ingenuity and commonsense public policy solutions that allow Texans to solve the problems they face.

These actions are among the many reasons our economy is prosperous, and why thousands continue to move here every year.

You’ll find that same prosperous spirit and vast economic potential in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). As a critical trading hub between the United States and the rest of the world, we must reconsider the sources of energy we use to foster new growth far into the future. Doing so means we have to lean into our strengths.

With the growing geopolitical climate, the RGV is prepared to continue its prosperous path as state, national and international leaders increase their renewable energy portfolios. Focusing on all-of-the-above energy solutions will set us up for success in meeting today’s demands and expanding our energy leadership. The RGV already demonstrates an aptitude as an extensive wind energy producer and a prime exporter of liquid natural gas. This all-of-the-above energy generation is the most reliable, resilient, and economically fruitful path for the RGV and beyond. This principle is already paying dividends — from exporting LNG directly to European countries, to running our local businesses on resilient technologies (including solar, wind, energy storage, and hydrogen).

We are taking the necessary steps to ensure grid reliability and security, and renewable energy is already creating lucrative, well-paying careers for Texans in the RGV. For example, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for wind turbine technicians across Texas is projected to grow 68% from 2020 to 2030, whereas the average growth rate for all other occupations is 8%. As companies choose to move to regions that can meet their renewable energy quotas, the downstream economic growth of this infrastructure cannot be understated.

By focusing on all-of-the-above energy solutions, Texas will create more jobs and increase economic opportunities for workers and businesses alike. We must ensure that the RGV remains competitive in securing critical land rights for clean energy producers. Our most significant obstacle remains the crushingly high property tax rates that continue to rise when paired with expansive population growth. This issue was previously addressed by Chapter 313, which expired this year and would have kept these taxes in check, putting land acquisition for manufacturing on an even playing field with other states.

We need a renewal of this much-needed tax relief, which will ensure the RGV remains the jewel for producers, job creators, economic engines, and energy investors. Out of necessity, this reduction should help make renewable energy successful across the state and country, including RGV counties, and add to the expanding list of new wind and solar projects.

Texas is already the national leader in energy production, and the RGV remains a crucial player in ensuring that energy moves to the places it needs to go. While our communities are key players in the transition of goods, services and fuels, we need to ensure that economic development investments are not simply moved from point A to point B without our people benefiting.

That is why we must remain steadfast in our support of all-of-the-above energy solutions and ensure that the economic potential of renewable energy is brought to the Rio Grande Valley.

Sergio Contreras