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State energy leaders says renewable energy is crucial to prevent summer outages

Several energy leaders emphasized that streamlining regulations would greatly encourage the construction of more power-production sites, regardless of their type.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas recently stated that renewable energy could be crucial in preventing power outages during the summer, however, supporters of wind and solar power point out that renewable energy isn't the grid's only source.

State energy leaders have said that building more power-production facilities -- both renewable energy sources, as well as gas-fueled power plants -- would go a long way to stabilizing the grid.

Wind turbines abound in the Coastal Bend. Rhythm Energy sells wind power generated by the Chapman Ranch wind farm, but CEO P.J. Popovic agrees that Texas hasn't been investing enough in new power production to meet the rising demand of years of population growth, and more businesses putting down roots in Texas.

"One megabyte during those peak afternoon hours in Texas," he said. "That means like one-third of it will be available to us between those 4-, 5- and 6-p.m.-in-the-evening hours in August. That is approximately enough to power 300 homes during those hours."

That increase has led to more power usage across Texas.  

"It's certainly disconcerting, but not altogether surprising, given that we are seeing huge demand increases for power of all forms across the state," said Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge.

The PUC said renewable energy, such as wind farms and solar power, will be needed to get the state over the hump this summer.

However, solar and wind energy are only as reliable as the available sunlight or wind, which is why, sometimes, the turbine blades aren't turning when you drive by.

But Popovic mentioned that Chapman Ranch is a leading wind-power provider, and that it could serve as a model for others in the near future.

"If you think about Chapman Ranch as a whole, the wind farm is enough to power 25,000 homes during the hottest afternoon hours this summer," he said.

Energy leaders also agree that streamlining regulations would go a long way to encourage the construction of more energy sources, regardless of their type.

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