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How 'Build Back Better' could boost clean energy in Texas

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EV charging station at San Antonio City Hall
David Martin Davies
EV charging station at San Antonio City Hall

On Nov. 5, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Build Back Better” budget reconciliation bill. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

There’s a lot in this wide-ranging package containing many of the Democratic social spending priorities and a major part of President Joe Biden’s agenda to improve the nation’s social safety net, confront climate change, and help Americans bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The roughly $2 trillion bill would provide free universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, caps certain prescription drug costs, boosts Pell grants for college tuition, expands family leave, and provides new hearing benefit for seniors. It would address climate change through billions in incentive programs while also spending money to electrify up to 165,000 U.S. Postal Service trucks and creating a Civilian Climate Corps. It also increases corporate taxes.

The measure now goes to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future.

An analysis of the Build Back Better by E2 Environmental Entrepreneurs found that more than 3 million clean energy jobs will be created and they will be generated in red and blue congressional districts.

Micaela Preskill is the Midwest states advocate at E2, Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Battery Power

Batteries are becoming bigger and better, and their role in our grid is also growing. New data from ERCOT the Electric Reliability Council of Texas finds that battery storage grew in Texas 77% in just one month, this past October.

Lennis Barlow, Clean Energy Associate with Environment Texas Research & Policy Center explains what bigger and better battery power means for grid stability and energy costs for consumers.

Oil Price Shock

Even if you don’t need to buy gas you still are being hit with the price spike in crude. High oil prices are affecting the cost of everything you see at the store.

It’s a shock wave in the economy that looks like inflation.

West Texas oil producers are responding to the high price with increased production but other parts of Texas are still lagging behind.

To find out more about the oil market, Texas production and what if anything President Biden can do about it – we reached out to Jim Krane, Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute at Rice University.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi