Renewables Help Soothe Texas Power Adequacy Concerns:
Industry Says Even Greater Assurance Possible
Date: May 22, 2012 09:20 ET
AUSTIN, Texas, May 22, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hardly a week has passed since Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association, TREIA, hosted the Electric Generation Adequacy & Reliability Forum at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday, May 8 where Texas PUC Commissioner Pablos and industry leaders spoke to a standing room only audience about issues facing energy industries in Texas.
TREIA President Steve Wiese set the stage for the forum by placing renewable energy resources within the context of Texas' competitive electricity market and the current resource adequacy concerns. He called on all stakeholders to approach the questions around resource adequacy as broadly as possible, noting that "the benefits of a diverse portfolio of resources - including traditional and renewable generation, distributed generation, conservation and demand response, improved efficiency and storage - accrue over the long term for all Texans."
Keynote speaker Commissioner Pablos addressed the audience, agreeing that, "generation adequacy is the most important issue facing the Commission. The Commission is taking an 'all of the above approach' to address this critical issue and the integration of renewable generation needs to be part of the discussion."
Since the forum the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, ERCOT reported that the state's generation of renewable energy increased by 13 percent between 2010 and 2011, from 28 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2010 to 31.7 million MWh in 2011, with the fastest rate of gain coming from solar energy.
"It was encouraging to hear the Commissioner acknowledge a role for renewable energy in meeting Texas' electricity needs as our population continues to grow and the economy improves," said Russel Smith, TREIA Executive Director. "TREIA has projected that at least twenty-five percent of this state's total energy consumption can, and should, be in the form of renewable energy by 2025. We stand ready to work with the Texas Legislature and the Commission to help make that a reality."
Panelist Karen Bondy, Manager of Water Resources Management at the Lower Colorado River Authority, LCRA, noted that some Texas reservoirs continue to be as much as 50 percent below capacity. LCRA is taking steps that identify all water uses, to match available source water types with use and has created a management plan to ensure maximum efficiency of water reuse and recycling.
Colin Meehan of Environmental Defense Fund pointed out that most renewable generation is extremely water efficient, as opposed to traditional generation, which typically consumes large amounts of water. Making the case for a more diversified Texas grid, Meehan said, "We must focus on smart solutions that reduce water needs for future electricity generation, meet peaking power demand efficiently and take advantage of existing infrastructure while meeting customer needs."
Considering the role of renewable energy in meeting these challenges, Warren Lasher, Director of Systems Planning at ERCOT, relayed, "Reserves this summer are expected to be tight but adequate though emergency conditions are likely if operating reserves fall below 2300 MW." He further noted that "new technologies can make a significant contribution to the grid."
"Renewables can make a difference in support of resource adequacy in Texas," said Mark Walker, Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, NRG Texas LLC. He continued, "The economics of solar and other renewables continue to become more and more cost competitive and the market measures under development at the PUC and ERCOT will benefit all resources that competitively produce on-peak power."
TREIA is the oldest renewable energy non-profit trade organization in Texas. For more than a quarter century, it has promoted development of sustainable, renewable resources and their wise use. Its membership includes hundreds of business leaders and energy experts across the state. Visit TREIA at www.treia.org where TREIA's Policy Statement on Distributed Renewable Energy Generation is also available.
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