Keep Austin Wizard petitions University for renewable energy

Keep Austin Wizard petitions University for renewable energy

Keep Austin Wizard is petitioning the University to convert to entirely renewable energy sources by 2035.

The local student chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization run primarily by Harry Potter fans, is collaborating with Environment Texas, an advocacy project of Environment America. Environment Texas wrote the petition and gave it Claire Norris, president of Keep Austin Wizard, to collect signatures on campus.

The organization plans to send the petition to UT President Greg Fenves by the end of the year and organize a meeting with him to discuss further action. Norris said the Harry Potter Alliance uses fandom to organize people for activism, which is a major theme throughout the book series.

A Conversation With CPS Energy’s CEO: Paula Gold-Williams

A Conversation With CPS Energy’s CEO: Paula Gold-Williams

A Conversation With CPS Energy’s CEO: Paula Gold-Williams

TREIA’s GridNEXT event is already right around the corner, and this year we are fortunate to have CPS Energy’s President & CEO Paula Gold-Williams keynoting the event. Gold-Williams has served at CPS Energy for over 14 years in various capacities, and has been President & CEO since November 2015.  

CPS Energy is the country’s largest municipal utility, serving more than 840,000 electric customers and 350,000 gas customers.

TREIA Profile: Stewart Title

TREIA Profile: Stewart Title

TREIA Profile: Stewart Title

Imagine you are a developer eyeing the potential for a renewable energy project in Texas, a state with an astounding 80,000 MW of wind and solar in grid operator ERCOT’s interconnection queue.  However, before you can shuffle into that long line at ERCOT, some critical tasks lie before you. Among other things, you must get access to the land that will host your acres of shining solar panels or towering turbines.  And you have to know with certainty that you have clear title to that land, so that you can develop your project and plug it into the grid without fear of some unexpected complication that could be quite costly or even kill the deal.

TREIA member Stewart Title takes that uncertainty off the table, underwriting title risk so developers can get on with the other complex elements of the renewables business.  In recent years, the company has become the biggest underwriter in the Texas renewable energy market. In a recent conversation TREIA board member Jeff Whetzel (Senior Vice President of National Commercial Services) and his colleague Ilene Eckert (Vice President and Commercial Services Business Development Officer) walked me through the complexities of their business and explained the critical nature of the work they do to move the renewable industry forward.

How the Texas power grid braces against rolling blackouts as summer heat looms

How the Texas power grid braces against rolling blackouts as summer heat looms

It's been decades since state power reserves were as depleted as they are now, according to Texas regulators — forcing them to contemplate the worst-case scenario this summer: rolling blackouts.

Such "rotating outages" are a last resort for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and they've been necessary only three times on record — and never during even the most sweltering of Texas summers.

ERCOT is forecasting a peak demand of 74,853 megawatts this summer, 1,300 megawatts higher than the all-time peak demand record set July 19, 2018, when temperatures reached 108 degrees at DFW International Airport.

And with backup resources at their lowest levels since the early 2000s, the staff at ERCOT is working to ensure the lights stay on this summer.

Renewable energy capacity in Texas REC program grew by almost 10% in 2018

Renewable energy capacity in Texas REC program grew by almost 10% in 2018

Houston — Total capacity in Texas' voluntary Renewable Energy Credit program, including facilities outside the Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint, increased by about 2.6 GW, or almost 10%, between 2017 and 2018, but industry observers differ over whether such growth may continue.

Some have blamed federally subsidized renewable energy's massive growth in Texas for low power prices, discouraging investment in dispatchable thermal generation, causing ERCOT's record-low planning reserve margins of 8.6% this summer, when ERCOT expects to declare Energy Emergency Alerts.

A renewable energy credit is a stock-like certificate corresponding to an actual megawatt-hour of renewable energy. Renewable power generators can earn and sell the RECs to retailers on the open market. Texas retail electricity providers must acquire and retire RECs based on their load-ratio share of the annual renewable portfolio standard mandate.

Legislative Bills affecting the Texas Market

Legislative Bills affecting the Texas Market

A couple of legislative proposals with the possibility of significantly affecting Texas renewable energy development if enacted are advancing through the Texas Legislature. Members may want to contact legislators representing districts where they have or are developing projects, or other members with whom they have connections, to let them know how these proposals could affect their interests.

Department of Energy Announces $28 Million in Funding for Wind Energy Research

Department of Energy Announces $28 Million in Funding for Wind Energy Research

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $28.1 million in funding aimed at advancing wind energy nationwide across the land-based, offshore, and distributed wind sectors. While utility-scale wind energy in the United States has grown to 90 gigawatts, significant opportunities for cost reductions remain, especially in the areas of offshore wind, distributed wind, and tall wind.

“Wind power is an important part of America’s energy strategy,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Research, development, and demonstration of innovative wind technologies can continue to drive down costs, and expand the success that we’ve seen in the land-based utility-scale wind sector to the emerging distributed wind and offshore wind sectors.”

Texas Solar Boom Fueled By Oil And Gas Power Demands

Texas Solar Boom Fueled By Oil And Gas Power Demands

A new look at a burgeoning solar boom in Texas reveals an unlikely source behind much of the demand - oil and gas companies.

Demand for electricity in Texas is so high, much of it due to "power-hungry" oil and gas drilling operations, that solar power is now becoming highly sought after in the state, Bloomberg reports. Developers expect to add more than 6 gigawatts of solar in the state by 2022, quadrupling the current capacity in Texas.

Texas solar is being built solely for economic reasons, not due to incentives. BloombergNEF estimates that, spread over the lifetime of the plant, it currently costs about $32 per megawatt-hour to build a solar farm in the state - and it's $38/MWh for a comparable high-efficiency gas plant.

A Better Way For Corporations To Buy Green Power? The Proxy Revenue Swap

A Better Way For Corporations To Buy Green Power? The Proxy Revenue Swap

In recent years, corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) to buy renewable energy have been a key driver for large-scale wind and solar projects.  The PPA trend has grown rapidly in the U.S.  Last year alone, the number of buyers jumped from 31 to 75 while the contracted volumes soared from 2,780 to 6,530 megawatts (MW).  

Those numbers are expected to grow in coming years.  However, some of these deals can be complex, with contracts that can run over a hundred pages.  They can also involve certain risks that buyers may be unaware of. 

Forward Spark Spreads Suggest Rising Profitability of US Renewables As Sector Matures

Forward Spark Spreads Suggest Rising Profitability of US Renewables As Sector Matures

Ahead of the S&P Global Platts Global Power Markets conference in Las Vegas, April 8-10, 2019, The Barrel presents a series of articles on the global and US electricity sectors. In this last post of the series, Steve Piper analyzes S&P Global Market Intelligence data to show that renewables are increasingly able to compete with conventional generation.

Wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) electric facilities only account for an estimated 11% of US generation, but they are fast closing on a tipping point where they may outperform conventional generation as an asset class.