U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz wants people to know that Texas — not California — is the country’s top wind energy producer.
“We produce a lot more wind energy in Texas than California does,” Cruz said in an interview this month with CNBC’s Last Call. “They produce a lot of hot air, but the wind energy is produced in Texas.”
Wind turbines are a common sight across Texas, but is Cruz correct that the state — long known for its oil and gas dominance — outproduces California in renewable wind energy?
Contacted for comment, Cruz’s spokesperson did not provide a response by our deadline.
PolitiFact examined U.S. Energy Information Administration data and found that Texas not only produces more wind energy than California but also is the nation’s top producer. Texas generated more than one-quarter of all U.S. wind-sourced electricity in 2022, leading the country for the 17th consecutive year.
Last year, Texas produced more than 114,000 megawatt hours of wind energy, nearly eight times more than California, which produced about 14,600 megawatt hours. Texas has more than 15,000 wind turbines, according to the Texas comptroller’s office, more than any other state in the U.S.
A megawatt can power about 200 homes during peak demand, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid.
After Texas, the states generating the most wind-sourced electricity in 2022 were Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois.
Texas leads the nation in wind power generation for several reasons, said Tom Overbye, an engineering professor and director of the Smart Grid Center at Texas A&M University.
The state boasts extremely high wind speeds, particularly in North and West Texas, and along the southern Gulf Coast, Overbye said. For example, the average peak wind speed in El Paso in West Texas hit 35.9 mph in April 2022, the El Paso Times reported.
An abundance of open land in these regions makes the cost of developing wind farms relatively low. The state also offers a property tax exemption equal to the value of wind and solar energy devices.
Wind farms enjoyed strong bipartisan political support in Texas, at least in their early years, Overbye said. He pointed to the Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard, signed in 1999 by then-Gov. George W. Bush, which aimed to spur renewable energy development. In 2005, then-Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill that expanded renewable energy and improved the electric transmission infrastructure. Although Democrats have pushed green energy measures, including the Green New Deal, Perry and Bush are both Republicans.
Texas has also become a leader in solar power, Overbye said. In 2022, Texas was the country’s second-largest solar energy producer, after California, according to the EIA. This year, the state is adding more solar energy capacity than any state in the U.S, according to the agency.
Cruz said, “We produce a lot more wind energy in Texas than California does.”
Federal data shows that in 2022, Texas produced more wind energy than any other state, including California. That year, Texas produced more than 114,000 megawatt hours of wind energy, compared with California’s production of 14,600 megawatt hours.
We rate this claim True.