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Monday, May 27, 2024 — Houston, TX

Greg Abbott discusses power grid at Baker Institute summit

Richard Li / Thresher

By Riya Misra     4/10/24 12:05am

Texas Governor Greg Abbott came to campus to speak at the Texas Electricity Policy Summit, hosted by the Baker Institute for Public Policy April 9. In his 15-minute speech, he discussed Texas’ power grid and economic development.

“Texas [has] a grid that is stable, reliable and robust,” Abbott said in his opening remarks. “The grid truly is better than it’s ever been.”

He pivoted to discuss the state’s gross domestic product, valued at over $2.4 trillion. There are only seven countries with a larger GDP than Texas, Abbott said, including nations such as China, India, Germany and France. Texas has the second-largest GDP of any U.S. state — California claims the largest, with a GDP just shy of $3.6 trillion in 2022.

“Candidly, you look at the way the Texas economy has been growing, probably by this time next year Texas will have the seventh-largest economy because we’ll surpass France,” Abbott said. “When we do so, we’ll come right back here to Rice University and have a big French fry cookoff.”

Abbott then spoke about future utility developments, including bolstering the grid, building electric vehicle charging stations and adapting power supply to the ever-growing needs of artificial intelligence. Abbott said his administration has added 3,820 megawatts of dispatchable power to the grid in the past year and will add an additional 7,300 in the upcoming year.

He also pointed to Texas’ role in oil production for cementing the state as an “economic legend.” From Spindletop — a Texas oilfield discovered in 1901 that jump-started the modern petroleum industry — to the present day, Abbott said that Texas has “literally powered the entire world.”

“The United States is now producing more oil than any nation ever,” Abbott said. “That is because of the hard work and determination of the men and women in this room today. You all have to fight back against an administration in Washington D.C. that constantly demonizes you and attacks your industry. But here in Texas, we support and encourage you.”

He cited this very support as the “secret sauce” that helps Texas excel.

“We truly partner with our businesses because of this simple mathematical formula. When our businesses in Texas succeed, Texas as a state succeeds,” Abbott said.

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