If you’ve been paying attention to the Texas energy scene, you know a solar storm is brewing. Tens of gigawatts of utility-scale solar projects are being lined up in the ERCOT interconnection queue, a development that will soon affect market prices and grid operations. At the same time, a smaller, but rapidly growing increase of distributed solar is coming online as well, which will affect both ERCOT and the state’s distribution utilities. Pretty soon, it is quite likely that California’s infamous ‘duck curve’ may have a Texas counterpart, already know to some as the ‘dead armadillo curve.’
By Peter Kelly-Detwiler - Storyteller in Residence
On May 16, Husch Blackwell Partner (and TREIA board member) Chris Reeder hosted TREIA’s second webinar of 2019. This two-part event (click for link to TREIA webinars past and future) focused on security requirements within the context of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) rules, as well as solar facility operation & maintenance (O&M) in Texas.
Navigating the Framework of Security Requirements
Trey Kirkpatrick, Vice President of ABZ Inc., - a new TREIA member - started off the conversation, and guided attendees through the regulatory thicket surrounding the NERC physical and cyber security requirements.
ABZ is an engineering and consulting services firm that offers many services to actors in the energy space, including utilities, cooperative, owners, and developers. It provides assistance related to NERC compliance programs, audits, and software integration, and has been assisting renewable companies in Texas with their compliance programs.
By Peter Kelly-Detwiler - Storyteller in Residence
On May 7, in TREIA’s first webinar of 2019 Jason Reschly, Partner at legal firm Husch Blackwell and Ian Davis, Vice President of renewable project developer OnPeak Power tackled the complex and occasionally obscure issues related to the federal tax credits (link to future and past webinars here). The webinar was moderated by TREIA board member and Husch Blackwell partner Chris Reeder.
Navigating the Complexity of Federal Tax Credits
Jason Reschly guided attendees through the challenges of understanding how the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) are applied. Needless to say, the rules of the game are somewhat arcane, and there are plenty of opportunities for mistakes and misunderstandings, which is why this webinar is quite helpful.
Here we are again, heading into GridNEXT 2019 on June 26 and 27, where we will celebrate the accomplishments of the last year and peer into the future as we seek to achieve TREIA’s stated goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030.
This year, we have moved the venue to beautiful and hospitable San Antonio. We have also shortened the conference to one full day, preceded by an annual industry briefing by Peter Kelly-Detwiler the afternoon of the 26th , followed by an Opening Conference Reception (who can say no to that?) These two events will be held at the Charles Court next to Zinc Bistro and Bar.
HOUSTON-True to one of its favorite mottos, Texas is a whole other country when it comes to wind power capacity.
The Lone Star state stands alone with close to 26 GW installed, by far No. 1 nationally and more than a fourth of all wind energy capacity throughout the U.S., according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) annual report.
It’s revitalized places like the city of Sweetwater and Nolan County in the western part of the state, much like the oil and gas-rich Permian Basin turned Borger and Midland into corporate destinations. Ken Becker, executive director of Sweetwater Economic Development, has no misgivings about the economic boom that wind farms have brought to his region.
When Lt. Col. Joseph Goana takes off in his T-38 Talon training jet, he flies a loop north toward the Red River, which forms a meandering border between north Texas and southern Oklahoma. For decades, the remote farming area has been an ideal training ground for Air Force pilots like Goana. But in recent years, he says theres been a new obstacle: wind turbines that now generate a third of Oklahomas electricity and 17 percent of the power in Texas.
"We need the space above the ground unimpeded so we can fly low to the ground," says Goana, commander of the 80th Training Wing at Sheppard Air Force Base. "Sort of like drivers ed."
The City of Dallas has entered into a new electricity contract with TXU Energy to power all city facilities with wind and solar energy for 10 years.
The city will initially draw power and renewable energy credits from the Foard City Wind Farm in west Texas. TXU Energy has also agreed to source some or all the city’s power from future renewable energy assets developed in north Texas, if possible, at no additional charge. The contract also provides $1.5 million for energy-related projects and $300,000 for community programming.
Aggreko has signed an agreement with Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC), the largest electric cooperative in the United States, to install and commission the utilitys first-ever battery energy storage system: a 2.25 MW / 4.5 MWh project in Johnson City, Texas.
Electric cooperatives often excel in solar procurement thanks to member desire for renewables and other reasons. Five other electric distribution cooperatives in Texas have recently signed agreements to purchase 7 MW of distribution-scale solar generation.
AUSTIN, Texas, May 21—Five electric distribution cooperatives in Texas have signed agreements to purchase 7 megawatts (MW-dc) of distribution-scale solar generation, providing an increased supply of cost-effective and clean energy to their members while increasing local system resilience.
All of the arrays are scheduled to begin operation by June 2020. The buyers include Bartlett Electric Cooperative, Comanche Electric Cooperative, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative, The projects will be developed, constructed, owned and operated by Canadian renewable energy developer Saturn Power Corporation, which will sell energy to the cooperatives through 20-year power purchase agreements. Saturn Power has developed and contracted 200 MW of wind, solar and battery storage projects, and was selected through a competitive bidding process that Rocky Mountain Institute managed as the buyers’ representative.