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New Houston Applauds Biden Administration for Awarding Harris County “Game-Changing” Green Energy and Jobs Grant

(Houston, TX)  Today, Hany Khalil, Chair of New Economy for Working Houston issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a $249,700,00 million “Solar For All” grant award for Harris County and a coalition of partners in Texas. Details of the announcement may be found here

“This award has the potential to be a game-changing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the residents of Harris County,” said Khalil. “Today, electricity for millions of residents costs too much and fails too often. Despite living in the energy capital of the U.S., working people are paying far more for electricity compared to the rest of the country while coping with the constant threat of ERCOT grid failures. With this grant, our community may finally have a chance to bring down power costs and increase power reliability by building our own clean energy infrastructure. 

“New Houston commends Harris County Commissioners for working closely with the Power Up Harris County coalition, among others, to craft such an innovative, bold proposal that stood out in a large field. However, the work is not yet done to ensure that this opportunity becomes the game-changing reality we know it can be. Harris County officials must ensure that the jobs that will power this project are good union jobs, and that the poor and working class communities of color that are so often disenfranchised from these opportunities are given access to these jobs through recruitment, training, and additional support. We must ensure that the exploitative practices of the old economy are not transferred to the new clean energy economy.

“Workers and the community stand ready to partner with Harris County so that together we can fully realize the potential of this historic investment in our communities. 

“I would like to thank the Biden-Harris Administration for following through on their promise to support Harris County and for rewarding the years of hard work by a broad array of local organizers fighting to make life better and more prosperous for Texans.”  


Despite assurances from executives and state officials about the reliability of Texas’ power grid, millions of residents across Houston and the state of Texas are frequently forced to endure anxiety and uncertainty from ERCOT due to the fragility of the state’s grid. Most recently, ERCOT warned of potential failures during warmer-than-expected weather in April – long before the peak heat of Summer.  Making matters worse, the lack of reliability has driven up utility bills for ordinary Houstonians already struggling to make ends meet financially.  Last year, ERCOT had the most expensive electricity market in America, while every other regional grid had lower electricity prices. 

About Power Up Harris County and New Houston

The Power Up Harris County campaign is a coalition of local labor and community organizations working to build an infrastructure for clean, reliable, and affordable energy while creating good paying union jobs. The Campaign Steering Committee includes the Texas Climate Jobs Project, The Workers Defense Project, New Economy for Working Houston, the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation, and the Texas Organizing Project.

New Economy for Working Houston (NEW Houston) is a non-profit organization that brings together the power of grassroots organizing and public policy innovation to win a just economy for Gulf Coast working families. We seek to build an inclusive regional economy where workers and neighborhoods thrive, and where people of color, immigrants, women, and low-income residents have an equal voice and share equally in regional prosperity.