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Texas Utility Commission Push For More Gas-Powered Electricity In Light Of Threats Of Summer Power Outages

May 4, 2023- Public Utility Commission Chair Peter Lake on Wednesday warned that Texas’ main power grid is at risk for outages this summer if wind turbines don’t produce enough electricity when it’s needed. He further explained that more on-demand power sources, such as natural-gas-fueled power plants or batteries need to be built to make the grid more reliable.

Lawmakers are evaluating a new economic tool that Lake’s agency approved, called performance credits. These credits would increase electric customers bills an estimated 2% and direct the funds to companies that operate on-demand power sources, with a goal of persuading them to build more power plants or keep existing plants in service longer.

Lake’s statements were based on the Grid Operator’s seasonal report that studies how much electricity the system is expected to be able to produce in various, low-probability scenarios, compared to demand.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) found that the grid may not be able to meet a very high demand for power at the end of a typical work day if it coincides with extremely low wind and an extreme number of unexpected outages at other plants. ERCOT also stated that low winds and a very high demand for power after sunset could lead to power outages.

Renewable energy supports have pushed back on the characterization that the grid’s reliability rests on the renewables alone.

After the near collapse of the grid during the February 2021 winter storm, having left millions without power, several Texas leaders blamed renewable energy to be the cause of the problem. Later analysis showed that all types of power generation faltered in the storm.


Author: Ethan Klein

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