When most people think of Texas, they think of oil. For over 100 years, “Texas Tea” has been an important part of the state’s overall economy – and San Antonio is no exception. Oil and gas production and refining continues to play a large part in the city’s economy. However, in recent years, San Antonio has also become a leader in the area of sustainable energy production and education.

Oil and Gas

The oil and gas industry is alive and well in the city, with drilling, refining and associated areas providing tens of thousands of jobs and pumping billions of dollars into the San Antonio area economy. San Antonio is the headquarters of oil and gas giant Valero Energy Corporation, a fortune 50 company, and the third largest publically traded company in the state with revenues in excess of $130 billion annually; Tesero Corporation, a Fortune 100 corporation in the oil and gas industry with revenues of $37 billion per year; and oil and gas storage and transportation (pipeline and ground) company NuStar Energy, a Fortune 500 company. Extracting and refining oil from the Eagle Ford Shale Play – a massive oil deposit which covers over 400 miles and runs from East Texas through San Antonio – alone is estimated to be responsible for over 14,000 jobs in the metropolitan area. Port San Antonio, one of the largest industrial complexes in Texas, is home to dozens of companies that employ thousands of workers that support the oil and gas giants who are drilling into and refining what comes out of the Eagle Ford Shale Play.

Renewable Energy

Although it has a long, profitable history with the oil and gas industry, San Antonio is rapidly becoming a leader in the burgeoning renewable energy sector. In 2010, San Antonio launched the Mission Verde (Mission Green) initiative, with an eye towards making the city a hub for the sustainable energy industry. The city-owned public utility CPS Energy – the largest municipally-owned gas and electric utility company in the United States – has adopted emerging energy technologies including solar power, clean coal, and wind generation which have attracted investors from around the world. Companies that are already established in these industries have partnered with CPS and moved corporate offices or manufacturing facilities to San Antonio, creating thousands of jobs and pumping an estimated $2 billion into the local economy annually. Currently San Antonio ranks number 7 in the United States for solar power generation, and number 1 in the nation for wind generated electricity purchase.

The Future of Energy in San Antonio

Increasing oil production from the Eagle Ford Shale Play and the city’s ongoing commitment via tax incentives and Solartricity – a program designed to attract mid-sized solar energy generating companies to the area – to increasing its footprint in the rapidly growing renewable energy sector all but ensures a bright future for the energy industry in San Antonio. Along with public and private investment in energy research and development, the Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute at the University of Texas San Antonio is one of the country’s leading facilities for research into wind generated energy; solar forecasting technology; large-scale photovoltaic integration; and carbon capture, storage, sequestration, and reutilization.

Energy in all its various forms has a huge impact on San Antonio’s economic present and future. Whether it is traditional energy research and production or cutting-edge renewable energy technologies, San Antonio is a great place for experienced energy professionals as well as those looking to begin their career in this exciting field.