Bill White Looks to Sun, Wind Energy For Texas

If elected governor, White promises to keep Texas the “energy capital of the world” by focusing on energy efficiency and renewable sources like wind and solar.

Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White, former mayor of Houston

Gubernatorial candidate Bill White, former Houston mayor

TEXAS: As a former oil entrepreneur, Bill White is by no means a foe of Big Oil, the engine at the heart of the Texas economy.

But if the Democrat wins the state governor’s race next month, he will be spending lots of time working with two other resources in abundance in Texas – sun and wind – and trying to make the whole state much more energy efficient.

If successful, White could help turn oil-happy Texas into the de facto US leader in alternative energy while Washington’s push toward a low-carbon economy drags on in Congress.

As Houston’s mayor for three terms, White burnished his clean energy credentials by championing efficiency and making the “Petro Metro” the biggest municipal clean energy purchaser in the state. He also proved his mettle as a cool-headed, straight-talking administrator who focused on the bottom line and proved a steely crisis manager after Hurricane Ike barreled through southeast Texas in 2008.

But White, 56, has yet to prove he can win this tough election. Most polls have him trailing Republican Rick Perry, the longest-serving governor in the history of the second most populous US state. “The guy is darn near a deity in the Houston area,” said Jason Stanford, a political consultant with Stanford Research in Austin, the state capital. “The challenge for him is to make his case to the rest of the state in the time that’s left.” To his credit, White is already the best Democratic bet in 15 years.

Being a conservative, fiscally careful Democrat puts White in pretty good stead,” said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “He’s making as good a run as any Democrat has made since Ann Richards,” the last Democrat to hold the office in 1991-1995.

The clean energy credentials help distinguish White, but he can’t call Perry a slouch on the matter. Under Perry’s watch, Texas wind energy bloomed, and the state leads the nation in producing carbon-free electricity from windmills. Surging interest in renewable energy supplies like wind and solar has made Texas a hotbed for clean-energy technology.

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Posted by on Oct 11 2010. Filed under Environment, Texas, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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