Texas’ power grid is getting a redesign. Here’s what renewable energy experts think about it

Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Renewable energy experts held a virtual webinar Tuesday morning discussing the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ redesign of the state’s power grid.

The webinar also served as a media briefing, where they discussed the opportunities and potential pitfalls of the redesign.

The PUC is scheduled to meet Thursday where commissioners will go over the redesign and consider “dozens” of comments they’ve received on it.

“The commission is pushing to have a complete overhaul and redesign of the ERCOT electric market before the end of the year. It is an incredibly aggressive timeline. These are very important decisions that will have long-lasting impacts,” Doug Lewin, president of Stoic Energy, LLC, said Tuesday.

The panelists discussed the different factors the commissioners need to consider to successfully rebuild the electric market. The first factor is to include many buys and sellers, Alison Silverstein, a former Texas PUC and FERC Senior Advisor, said Tuesday.

“The second is: markets reveal prices, which reflect both competition and grid conditions, and LMP prices in particular locational marginal pricing is consistent with and improves grid reliability,” Silverstein continued.

“The third principle is that all resources supply and demand of every kind should be treated fairly within their capabilities as opposed to discrimination on some basis, on some non-performance principle. The fourth is that all resources should be defined in functional or performance-based technology agnostic and fuel neutral terms. The fifth is that prices should reflect value and scarcity already said something like that. And the sixth is that customers should be able to see prices. If you get all of those things going on as principles, then you’re likely to have markets that work better,” Silverstein said.

The group is warning the commissioners not to include any language that would discourage investment in renewable energy in Texas. The state has already made progress, and this could be detrimental to the market as a whole if the PUC adds restrictions or extra roadblocks for renewable sources.

“We may get close to, even if we don’t exceed an all-time summer peak, we should be getting about seven gigawatts of solar today. That’s more than double what we would have gotten August of last year,” Lewin said.

They explained that would have a negative impact on more than just the electric market.

“This investment could and likely will shift elsewhere if renewable energy is discriminated against in the Texas market. And that’s a loss for the state, for communities and, and ultimately for business,” Bryn Baker, Director of Policy Innovation Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, said Tuesday.

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