Texas has historically been the country’s fossil fuel capital, but the state is increasingly investing in renewable energy production. In fact, by next year Texas will get more electricity from solar and wind power than methane gas, also known as natural gas, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected in a recent report.
Texas also led the country in renewable energy projects in 2021, according to a report from the American Clean Power Association trade group. Its 7,325 megawatts of new wind, solar and energy storage projects brought online last year far surpasses the 2,697 megawatts in the next most active state, California. Texas is also the leader when ranked by how much wind, solar and storage states have under construction or in advanced development.
To that end, some major clean energy projects have recently advanced in Texas. Here’s a roundup of some of the latest:
$6 billion green hydrogen fuel plant in Bay City
A $6 billion, 540-acre green hydrogen fuel plant is coming to the Bay City area of southeast Texas, planned by the Houston unit of e-fuels developer HIF Global. Bechtel will perform engineering and design work, according to a Dec. 6 press release from the company. It’s the first of 12 plants HIF Global is planning to build that will use captured CO2 and green hydrogen — which is hydrogen generated by renewable energy — to produce cleaner transportation fuels.
Construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2023 and production will begin by 2026, per a release from the governor’s office. The project will create at least 4,500 direct jobs during the construction phase, according to Bechtel. When complete, the facility will produce 200 million gallons of the cleaner fuel annually.
$4 billion green hydrogen plant in Wilbarger County
Air Products and The AES Corp. are building a $4 billion green hydrogen facility in Wilbarger County in north Texas — the largest in the country when complete, according to a press release from the governor’s office. It will be capable of producing 200 metric tons per day of green hydrogen.
It’s part of the state’s efforts to create a clean energy hub.
“The project will broaden Texas’ energy portfolio and will position our state as the country's leader in green hydrogen while helping to reduce emissions,” according to the press release.
The build itself is anticipated to create more than 1,300 construction jobs and will generate $500 million in revenue for the state, according to the release. It is targeted to begin commercial operations in 2027, and will primarily serve transportation and industrial markets.
$1 billion blue hydrogen plant in Beaumont
Amsterdam-based hydrogen company OCI N.V. broke ground on a $1 billion blue hydrogen facility on Dec. 7 in Beaumont, Texas. The plant will be the largest of its kind in the state, according to a release. That sum includes the cost of land and upsizing facilities.
The project will create 1,000 construction jobs, the release said, and is on track to start production in 2025. Site preparation is almost finished and construction has begun. The engineering and procurement contract was awarded to Milan, Italy-based engineering firm Maire Tecnimont in March.
Blue ammonia is produced from hydrogen derived from fossil fuel where the CO2 byproduct is captured and sequestered, while green ammonia is based on renewable sources such as wind and solar. This project has been designed to transition from blue to green ammonia production as green hydrogen becomes more available.
The facility will be located near OCI’s existing nitrogen and methanol facilities in a region rich in related infrastructure.
“The area already has extensive existing hydrogen pipeline delivery infrastructure, hydrogen storage capability and industrial customers. South East Texas also has a wealth of companies leading in energy technology integration, deployment, operations, and maintenance, and a skilled labor force in clean energy,” the release said.
Cutlass Solar Two solar facility in Fort Bend County
Bechtel has been selected to build a 272 MWdc solar facility for Turkey-based Sabanci Renewables, the engineering firm announced on Dec. 8. It will be located in Fort Bend County in southeast Texas. Bechtel will provide engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and project management, per the release.
The facility will be the first utility scale solar project in the U.S. for Sabanci Renewables, a subsidiary of Sabanci Holding. Project construction will begin in the first quarter of 2023 and completion is expected in the second quarter of 2024. Sabanci Renewables will own and operate the facility.
The solar energy generated at the facility will provide enough electricity to power approximately 40,000 homes in the Houston area with zero-carbon electricity, according to the release, which will save 600,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.