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Workers Defense Celebrates Harris County “Game-Changing” Green Energy and Jobs Grant

Monday, April 22, 2024

Contact: Christine Bolaños

(Houston, TX) Today, Lizeth Chacón, Executive Director of Workers Defense Project issued the following statement in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement of a $249.7 million grant award for residential solar in Harris County.

“This award is a game-changer for the Harris County community because it gives millions of people peace of mind through more affordable power costs while also increasing power reliability,” said Chacón. “Harris County residents live in fear of ERCOT grid failure every time temperatures hit three digits or drop to freezing because of what we endured during Winter Storm Uri. It is unacceptable that despite living in the nation’s energy capital, Texans are paying far more to keep their lights on compared to the rest of America. Through this grant, Houstonians – including our vulnerable communities – will finally rest assured that a reliable power grid and lower energy costs are possible; and, it will come through building our own infrastructure.

“Workers Defense commends Harris County Commissioners for working alongside the Power Up Harris County coalition, of which our organization is a founding member, to create a groundbreaking and bold proposal that stood out among an elite national roster. But winning the grant is only the beginning as we urge Harris County leaders to ensure that the jobs that power this project are good union jobs that are lasting and that vulnerable communities of color that are often left out of these opportunities have access to these life-changing jobs through recruitment, training, and resources.

“Our member-workers and allies vow to work alongside Harris County to make the most of this game-changing green energy and jobs grant and ensure that our families and our neighbors neverhave to suffer through another Winter Storm Uri, constant blackouts or high and unaffordable high energy bills again.”


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
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.

About Workers Defense Project
Proyecto de Defensa Laboral is a statewide member-led organization fighting alongside migrant workers to build a better Texas for all through stronger worker protections and fair wages across sectors. Workers Defense is a national leader and one of the most effective worker centers in the country fighting for the rights and dignity of all who call Texas home.