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News Release from Comptroller Susan Combs

For Immediate Release
May 6, 2008

Comptroller’s Energy Report Examines Texas’ Future Energy Options
and the Impact of Evolving Energy Policies

(AUSTIN) —As fuel prices and energy demand continue to rise, policymakers are evaluating the diverse energy options available to Texas. To aid in that process, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs today released The Energy Report, a comprehensive assessment of the potential and the possible consequences of developing various energy resources.

The Energy Report is a compilation of factual and objective information to guide Texas in developing the new energy resources we will need,” Combs said. “Reliable and affordable energy is critical to our state’s ability to maintain strong economic growth.”

Oil and natural gas built modern Texas, and the industry is still a major contributor to the state’s economy. By far, fossil fuels supply the bulk of the state’s energy and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. They have been abundant and inexpensive, and Texas has an extensive infrastructure in place to make use of them. But growing demand across the globe for these finite resources is pushing prices higher, generating interest in alternative resources among energy producers, consumers and policymakers. Texas’ energy future will be secured by using resources more efficiently and by expanded energy diversity.

The Energy Report provides an overview of the many energy resources Texas can use to meet its future energy demands. This new energy portfolio will include renewable resources, nuclear power and traditional fossil fuels linked with new technologies to reduce their environmental impact.

“Any source of energy has its benefits and its drawbacks,” Combs said. “As policymakers make decisions to help meet the needs of our ever-growing population, we hope The Energy Report is a tool leaders can use to make informed choices.”

The Energy Report assesses the cost; economic impact and viability; availability and current infrastructure; environment, health and safety concerns; fuel characteristics; and other issues related to various energy sources. The report covers the state’s nonrenewable fuels: crude oil, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, coal and uranium. The report also assesses renewable energy sources: solar energy, wind, ethanol, biodiesel, wood, feedlot waste, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydropower, ocean power, geothermal energy and hydrogen.

In examining the costs of various types of energy, the Comptroller’s research team undertook a first-of-its-kind, independent estimate of federal, state and local government subsidies for different types of fuels to determine their total costs for taxpayers and consumers — costs that may not be reflected in electric bills or the price at the gas pump.

Texas leads the nation in total energy consumption, accounting for nearly 11.5 percent of all U.S. energy use. This is not due to wasteful energy use or failure to implement conservation measures. Texas’ energy use is tied to its large population, hot climate and extensive industrial sector, which includes a high concentration of energy-intensive industries such as aluminum and glass manufacturing, forest products, petroleum refining and petrochemical production. Fifty percent of the energy consumed in Texas is used by industries that power the Texas economy and produce products used across the U.S. and around the world.

Though we are major energy consumers, Texas also leads the nation in energy production. In 2006, the Texas energy industry employed nearly 375,000 people who earned more than $35 billion in total wages. Oil and gas accounted for most of this economic activity, contributing 14.9 percent of Texas’ 2006 gross state product. We are the nation’s largest producer and refiner of oil and gas, and we have the largest share of fossil fuel reserves in the U.S. Texas also leads the nation in installed wind energy capacity and is the nation’s largest producer of biodiesel transportation fuel.

Texas has long been a leader in the energy industry and today is positioned to become a national leader in energy diversity because we have the resources and the technical expertise to take advantage of a wide variety of renewable energy sources, use our nonrenewable sources more efficiently and reduce energy demand.

“Texas has the opportunity to influence the expanding public debate over energy use and production, and our choices can set a new direction for the nation,” Combs said. “The Energy Report is intended as a reference tool for anyone seeking a better understanding of the Texas energy landscape and the potential impact of new energy policies.”

The Energy Report is available on the Comptroller’s Web site at www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/.

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Find details on all the services of the Comptroller’s office at www.window.state.tx.us, including a transparent look at state spending at www.window.state.tx.us/wherethemoneygoes.

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