Skip to main content

2018 Record Year for Wind Energy; Texas Leads U.S.

Published Apr 09, 2019 by Maggie Martin

Texas saw gains in clean energy jobs in 2018, including wind energy.

A new report from the  American Wind Energy Association says 2018 was a record year for the wind industry in the United States, and Texas led the nation. 

AWEA, the national trade group for United States wind power that represents over 1,000 companies, shared the findings from their 2018 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report during a press conference at the Greater Houston Partnership on April 9.

Among the highlights: wind power in the U.S. grew 8% last year, and it supports a record 114,000 American jobs and over 500 domestic factories. The industry also accounts for more than $1 billion a year in revenue for states and communities that host wind farms.

AWEA officials say Texas is the national wind industry leader, producing nearly a quarter of all U.S. wind energy. That means if Texas were a country, it would rank fifth in the world for wind power capacity with nearly 25,000 megawatts (MW) installed.

"In many ways, the Texas wind story is the story of American wind power," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. "“Texas has a long and storied history of energy production and as today’s report demonstrates, wind is an important part of the state’s energy success story."

Texas is also number one in wind energy jobs in the country, with more than 25,000 Texans working in the industry. AWEA says wind power is contributing to a boom in American renewable energy jobs. The group highlighted data from the Bureau Labor Statistics, which says wind turbine service technician is the second fastest growing job in the U.S. after solar installer, and the U.S. added 8,500 wind power jobs last year.

AWEA noted nearly 40 companies have purchased, or are committed to buying, nearly 5,000 MW of wind energy in Texas, including Fortune 500 brands like AT&T, ExxonMobil and Shell Energy.

AWEA's report comes just a month before the organization is hosting their national conference here in Houston.The conference, themed Wind +, Powering the Future Together, will be held at the George R. Brown from May 20 – 23.

Related News

Economic Development

Energy Leaders Discuss the Current State of the Global Industry Amid New Challenges

11/24/20
Houston has long been revered as the world capital of the energy industry. The region remains one of the largest energy economies with 4,600 energy companies and 18 Fortune 500 energy headquarters.  But the COVID-19 pandemic, which has presented unique challenges for cities around the world, has had a particularly strong impact on Houston's energy industry.  Senior executives of some of the world’s leading energy companies discussed the current state of the industry at the Partnership’s State of Energy event on November 10. The panel discussion was moderate by Partnership Chair Bobby Tudor of Tudor Pickering Holt and Company and included Gretchen Watkins, President, Shell Oil Company; Steve Green, President of North American Exploration and Production, Chevron Corporation; and Loic Vivier, Senior Vice President of Performance Derivatives, ExxonMobil Chemical.  The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a dramatic decline in demand for oil. As a result, oil prices hit an all-time low in April and energy employment in Houston plummeted to the lowest levels in 16 years. Companies took swift action by reducing costs and looking at how to best allocate capital and assets to ensure returns for investors and shareholders. While this is certainly a unique time, the energy industry is extremely resilient and is no stranger to a downturn. Population growth across the world means demand for energy will continue to increase, but perhaps not at the same pace that was previously forecast.  “The world needs more energy,” said Vivier with ExxonMobil Chemical. “We are very optimistic about the state of the energy industry in the long-term, but we need to deal with the short-term contraction.” In addition to focusing on investments that will generate cash flow in the short term, some are looking at the long-term opportunities to diversify their portfolio and meet the demand for climate friendly solutions to power and energy.  “We are very focused on the energy transition,” said Shell's Watkins, “not just because we want to be part of the solution to combat climate change, but because we want to find commercial opportunities and allow our company to continue to thrive.”  For many companies there is now a precarious balancing effort to maintain returns while also decreasing environmental impact of operations. Investors have become more vocal over the years about climate change, with many funds investing into their own ESG departments and even creating new funds that specifically invest in this type of activity. Companies are also working closer than ever with their customers to collaborate on lowering their own emissions that might come from the products they produce.  The use of technology will also continue to be a strategic focus in reducing costs and increasing efficiencies as the industry recovers.  Despite the current downturn, companies are optimistic about the future, and Houston’s continued position as the backbone of the global industry.    Click here for more information on Houston's energy industry. For more on Houston's role leading the global energy transition, click here. 
Read More
Aerospace & Aviation

Emerging Aerospace Trends and Technology Taking Flight in Houston

11/23/20
Houston's aerospace industry continues to flourish despite an economically challenging year. Amid key developments is the region's expanding commercial space sector.  To learn more about what's happening in Houston's aerospace industry, we asked Josh Davis to share his observations. Davis is the Partnership’s Senior Director for Global Aerospace & Aviation. A Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), Davis has used his acumen in aerospace to tout Houston’s strengths as a space juggernaut to a global audience. His expertise includes research, project development, site selection, economic development strategy and global engagement. What are some of the current trends you are seeing and how do you see the Houston region well positioned to lead?  The Houston region is positioned like no other metro globally. Aerospace is cross-pollinating with life science and Energy 2.0 in the region like nowhere else in the world. Specifically, the Houston region is home to a number of exciting companies doing new work in space, including: Axiom Space Intuitive Machines Ad Astra Rocket Boeing We're seeing companies that have traditionally associated with oil and gas shift into aerospace, including Jacobs and KBR. There's a realization that space is the future. Houston is home to many institutions in the region supporting the space ecosystem, such as NASA's Johnson Space Center, Rice Space Institute, the Houston Spaceport, Space Center Houston, Texas Medical Center, and San Jacinto College Edge Center. We've also seen increasing interest from our regional economic development allies around aerospace projects. There are more than 500 aerospace, space, and aviation firms and supporting institutions in the Houston region. We're also seeing growth in interest around venture capital as it supports space in the Houston region. Houston Exponential (HX) has engaged in this space in 2020, and VCs such as Houston-based SpaceFund have helped to ignite the conversation along with others in the region. This year, the Partnership supported The Ion in awarding a $1.4 million grant from the Minority Business Development Agency to create an Aerospace Innovation Hub (ASCI-Hub).  There's also an emergence of a new network of global cross-pollination brought to us by the space industry. Last year, the Partnership attended the Paris and Dubai air shows and helped bring a delegation from the UAE to the Houston Spaceport. As a global city with about 90 consulates, Houston's international nature is our greatest strength and catalyst within the aerospace, life science, and energy dynamic.  The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a serious disruption in economies across the globe. What kind of impact has it had on aerospace and aviation? Aerospace is currently a tale of two industries. One one hand, you have aerospace companies that exclusively support and supply commercial aviation. On the other, there are aerospace companies engaged in space and related arenas. The former has been hit with unprecedented challenges as COVID-19 had brought air travel to a near standstill in 2020. At one point, the Houston Airport System was down more than 90%. Mario Diaz, Aviation Director for the Houston Airport System, spoke about those challenges and how the region's airports have adapted at the Partnership's State of the Airports event in October.  The commercial space industry meanwhile is booming. Recent successes, including SpaceX’s Demo-2 and Crew-1, have captured the global imagination. Earlier this year, Axiom Space announced it was selected by NASA to build a privately funded platform that will attach to the International Space Station. The $2 billion project could create up to 1,000 jobs. The company expects to launch its first module as soon as 2024. Space companies have not only defied the gravity of COVID-19, but have also found new innovative solutions to combat the virus. The convergence of life science and space in Houston lends itself to this kind of novel solution finding.  Are there any promising new technologies or opportunities in the aerospace industry that you think will change space exploration and life on Earth? Every dollar spent on space has implications for making life better for all of us. We are finding there are many implications for life science in a zero gravity environment. During the Partnership’s Washington D.C. Fly-In earlier this year, we met with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, a Rice University alumnus, who highlighted the potential to grow human retinas in space. For instance, the zero gravity environment allows for symmetrical structures to unfold -a feat not possible on earth. We will find there is no area of life science where space does not offer insights and new possibilities. All NASA astronauts and many from other space agencies train at NASA JSC. Houston is the human spaceflight capital of the world and we have the largest medical center in the world. This is a recipe for possibility this decade.  On the spaceflight side synergizing with energy, propulsion is the holy grail for the industry. Just one example in the Houston region is Ad Astra Rocket Company, which is working on advanced high-power electric propulsion. In the current space economy, there are two main kinds of rockets: the high-power chemical rockets (launchers) and the low-power electric ion engines. Ad Astra takes the best of both, with a high-power electric rocket engine which is the ideal propulsion solution for many different space missions and logistics/servicing operations.    Learn more about Houston's aerospace and aviation industries. Register for the Partnership's State of Space event for Dec. 15, 2020. 
Read More

Related Events

Economic Development Event

UpSkill Works Forum: Gateways to Career Exploration & Pathways

Career exploration has become a part of middle and high school education across Texas over the last several years. Students must choose an educational endorsement in the seventh grade and this endorsement can set the…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners