As leaders in business, workforce and education, we have come together to urge you to continue our state’s long-standing support for renewable energy development in Texas.

Without this vital and growing industry, we are concerned the reduction in investment will echo throughout the South Texas community, in our schools, local services and small businesses. From Corpus Christi to Brownsville, we have seen the benefits of renewable energy projects that are bringing well-paying jobs that have historically been difficult to attract to South Texas, a cashless crop for our farmers and ranchers and overall, a growing economy that, once built, lasts for decades at a time. 

Rose Benavidez

Across the Rio Grande Valley, we have seen many communities thrive, due in large part to renewable energy projects. Creating good jobs, supporting local businesses, and powering our community, we are proud to look across the skyline and see those bright white blades spinning. We hope that you will consider South Texas in your decision to continue Chapter 313, giving local leaders the ability to continue attracting these large capital investments, and opposing legislation that is detrimental to the renewable energy industry.

Starr County is a shining example of why renewable energy has been so important. We saw many South Texas communities struggling with debt, retaining regional talent and unable to upgrade or even provide some basic city services. Ending Chapter 313 or slowing this economic growth could result in losing future projects representing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, limiting opportunities for hardworking Texans across this state.

Sergio Contreras

Beyond the direct benefits, our region has seen an incredible uptick in workforce development and renewable energy-related shipments over the past decade, contributing to jobs at the port, in our community colleges, and in transportation. Without these major projects coming through, we could see a significant impact on employment opportunities spurred by renewable energy development.

We urge the Texas Legislature to renew and preserve Chapter 313 and support economic growth in rural communities across the state. Conversely, we urge legislators to oppose bills that will damage an industry that has invested so much into our community, like bills that assign all costs of necessary services to renewable energy, instead of all energy producers.

Please keep South Texas Strong and support renewable energy development. 

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned jointly by Sergio Contreras, president of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, and Rose Benavidez, president of Starr County Industrial Foundation. The column appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with their permission.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows Duke Energy’s Mesteño Windpower project in Starr County, Texas.

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