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The challenge of meeting Texas power needs

Between refining and By JAMES OSBORNE petrochemical industries along Staff Writer the Gulf Coast and technology centers in Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas needs a lot of energy to operate 476 million BTUs per person each year. U.S. energy consumption has been trending upward for decades. But now technology is creating greater efficiencies cars are burning less gasoline, smart meters allow residents to more closely monitor their electricity use, manufacturing operations buy more efficient machinery and shed power at times when the grid is overloaded.
Staff Artist

Texas electric energy load

By ERCOT zone, August 2013, in millions of megawatt hours Houston zone 9.4 North Texas South 3.9 West 2.6 Other 6.1 13.5

All energy
Total consumption
Top 10 states, 2011
(Latest data available) 1. TX 7. PA 6. OH 10. IN

Consumption per capita

Top 10 states
1. WY 4. ND 7. NE 8. SD 5. IA 3. AK


Top 10 states, U.S. share

TX, 16.2%

WY, 13.3% 2. LA 9. IN 10. KY CA, 3.4%

2. CA

5. IL

8. NY

3. FL

WV, 4.9% CO, 3.5% OK, KY, 3.6% 3.5%

PA, 5%

4. LA

6. TX 9. GA


NM, 2.9%


Consumption of all 50 states

Consumption per capita of all 50 states

LA, 5.1%

Production of all 50 states

Rising and falling

Production and exports are on the rise, while imports and consumption and imports are decreasing:
120 Quadrillion Btu Consumption

U.S. energy sources

Renewable Nuclear Fossil Fuels
Quadrillion Btu

How much electricity comes from renewable sources?

Circles below are sized according to the electricity use per capita for a selection of countries.
Nonrenewable Hydroelectric Geothermal, solar, wind and other renewable Denmark Portugal


Percentage from renewable sources

Israel France United States Germany

90 Production










About two-thirds of all U.S. renewable energy comes from hydroelectric sources; about one-fifth comes from wind.
Imports Sweden Canada Norway Iceland

30 Exports 0 1950 1980 2011







SOURCES: International Energy Agency; The New York Times; ERCOT

The bottom line

Given where the economy has been, there has never been a time where small and medium business have had more focus on the bottom line. And because its so hot in Texas so many months of the year electricity is such a huge cost. We have to be able to help them to manage their [energy] cost structure. It requires half as much energy input today to create one dollar of GDP than it did 25 years ago. Some of it is government regulation, but a lot of it is market forces responding to high oil prices. Gasoline consumption peaked in 2007 and has been falling ever since. More people, more industry, a deluge of new electronic devices all means Texas is going to need more energy. But the question will be how technological efficiencies can offset those stresses. And to what degree the industry can replace increasingly costly fossil fuels with renewable energy sources like wind and biofuels. James Osborne, staff writer, The Dallas Morning News

Jennifer Pulliam, director, Products & Innovation, TXU Energy

Bernard Weinstein, associate director, SMUs Maguire Energy Institute