Legislators Seek to End Subsidies for Unreliable Energy - Texas Scorecard

After blackouts shut down power across the state, State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Rockwall) and State Rep. Bryan Slaton (R–Royse City) have filed legislation aimed at ensuring fair competition regarding energy production in Texas.

Senate Bill 829 and House Bill 2372, would require the decommissioning of solar plants that have outlived their usefulness and ban tax incentives for the land where said solar plants are located.

If passed, solar companies would not be allowed to sit on land and get tax breaks for it. The bill would also result in a more level playing field in the Texas energy industry and make room for non-solar energy companies to compete.

It would also be a step toward ending green energy companies’ unmerited privileges, according to Hall.

“Solar energy is neither reliable nor cost-effective,” Hall remarked in a joint press release. “We experienced, firsthand, its lack of reliability during last week’s power outages. Current solar technology only appears to be cost-effective because of the extensive taxpayer subsidies that are mostly hidden from the public.”

“Because of these shortcomings, it is important for the government to require the solar farm operators to provide guaranteed funds to ensure land reclamation, just like that required of oil and gas, should the project be abandoned. We must also convince the government to end all green energy subsidies.”

Unlike some other industries in Texas, there is no decommissioning requirement for solar plants, and many are wondering what should be done with them after their expiration.

If Hall’s proposal is enacted, solar facility owners will be mandated to provide financial assistance to the counties they are in for decommissioning, and ERCOT will be disallowed from connecting with these facilities for grid power.

Slaton seconded Hall’s statements, filing a companion bill in the Texas House.

“The government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers, and that includes the energy industry,” Slaton said. “After the green energy disaster during last week’s winter storm, it’s clear that sources like solar are unreliable, especially when people need it most.”

“Green energy should not be receiving tax incentives, and this bill removes those unfair incentives for solar. Additionally, since solar facilities typically only last a few decades, this bill requires that solar operators clean up and restore the soil before closing up shop, making this an exceptionally pro-taxpayer and pro-environment piece of legislation.”

Citizens may keep track of SB 829 and HB 2372 by using Texas Legislature Online.