ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATION OF POLICIES TO SUPPORT THE ENERGY TRANSITION OF WEST TEXAS ENERGY COMMUNITIES
Declarations of emission reduction goals have left an uncertain future for oil and gas markets. During a transition to increased use of clean energy resources, areas known as energy communities which economically depend on the success of the fossil fuel industry may experience more negative impacts than other areas of the nation. This includes the Permian Basin of West Texas, one of the largest areas of oil and natural gas production in the United States. The following analysis investigates policy solutions which could provide support for the communities in this area and avoid such trends as those seen in coal energy communities which have experienced economic hardship due to a changing energy landscape. For the investigation, review of past policy efforts as well as qualitative data analysis is used to determine a set of policy criteria and two policy alternatives to investigate. The first policy suggests the development of new education and retraining programs through community colleges and vocational schools. A second policy alternative considers support for emerging and developing industries of the area, including wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, and aerospace. After contrasting both cases against a “business-as-usual” control scenario, the first policy alternative was determined to be a more likely candidate for success in the area, but certain elements of a policy to develop industry outside the oil and gas energy sector may also be appropriate for policy makers to consider.
Energy communities, Energy transition, West Texas, Permian basin, Petroleum industry, Oil, Natural Gas, Education, Retraining, Economic development, Local government, Policy analysis, Geothermal energy, Wind energy, Solar energy, Hydrogen, Survey