Grid Security Council Creation Bill Passes Out of Texas Senate

Grid Security Council Creation Bill Passes Out of Texas Senate

A bill to create a grid security council to protect Texas’ electricity infrastructure is on its way to the House.

The Texas Senate passed Sen. Kelly Hancock‘s SB 475, with a substitute, is aimed at protecting the grid from cyberattack in part by commissioning a utilities council for the ERCOT region.

Texas Businesses Building More Power Supplies

Texas Businesses Building More Power Supplies

Texas is heading into summer with a growing supply of privately-generated electricity, reflecting the surge of small-scale power generators that businesses have been installed to provide their own back-up power and make money when prices spike during extreme weather.

A report by the Austin advocacy group Texas Clean Energy Coalition and the Boston consulting company Brattle Group found that back-up power supplies, including  fast-starting diesel-powered and natural gas-powered micro-turbines along with solar panels, can generate about 1,300 megawatts of power in Texas, the equivalent of building nearly three utility-scale combined-cycle electric generating plants.

Solar Energy About to Light Up Texas

Solar Energy About to Light Up Texas

By Peter Kelly-Detwiler - Storyteller in Residence

Until recently, wind energy has been the undisputed renewables champion in Texas, and rightly so.  The state boasts almost 25,000 megawatts (MW) of installed wind, with 13,000 turbines in operation, and an additional 7,000 MW in advanced development or under construction.

Wind is about to get a partner, though, as the solar industry is about to take the state by sunny storm.  From a base of approximately 2,000 MW today, solar is forecast to climb to 8,200 MW by 2025.  Solar’s already significant enough that ERCOT has already implemented solar forecasting.  It will have a few tailwinds to help it (to mix metaphors across renewables).

Aegean Energy Group: Effectively Sharing Information Improves the Project Development Process

Aegean Energy Group: Effectively Sharing Information Improves the Project Development Process

Anybody remotely connected with utility solar and wind-scale project development knows how critical the owner’s representative role can be.  Wind and solar projects have numerous and interconnected complexities that must be tracked through to the point of resolution: Where to locate each turbine or solar array?  Do roads need to be built or upgraded? Do transporting those massive towers, blades and nacelles - or relocating a crane – risk damage to a county bridge? Is all the equipment in the right place?  There are literally thousands of variables to track, facts to verify, processes to coordinate among multiple players, and things that can go wrong.

TREIA member Aegean Energy Group’s job is to make sure that all those things go right.  Aegean’s role is to act as the owner’s representative in the development process, to make sure that what was agreed upon by the developer gets done correctly and on time, right up until the final close and the project delivers its first electron.  To do so, they bring significant expertise and a suite of novel and highly productive technology tools to the game.

World's Biggest Battery to Boost Solar in Texas Oil Country

World's Biggest Battery to Boost Solar in Texas Oil Country

The world’s largest battery could soon be storing solar energy deep in the heart of Texas oil country.

The 495-megawatt storage system would be built in tandem with a solar farm of the same size in Borden County, Texas. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc., which operates most of the state’s grid, posted the details in a chart that shows the state’s battery storage will surge more than sixfold to 584 megawatts when the projects are completed in 2021.

Texas Grid Operator Reports Fuel Mix Is Now 30% Carbon-Free

Texas Grid Operator Reports Fuel Mix Is Now 30% Carbon-Free

Texas may be the center of the U.S. oil and gas industry, but the latest data shows that the state's competitive energy market is increasingly favoring clean energy over fossil fuel alternatives.

New information from state grid operator ERCOT shows that carbon-free resources made up more than 30 percent of its 2018 energy consumption, and a slightly larger percentage of its 2019 generation capacity. In both cases, the largest share of credit goes to the state’s massive wind farms, which provided 18.6 percent of 2018 energy and make up 23.4 percent of 2019 capacity, followed by nuclear power, which served 10.9 percent of last year’s needs and will provide 5.4 percent of this year’s capacity. 

Texas Regulators Direct Higher Plant Payments Amid Capacity Crunch Concerns

Texas Regulators Direct Higher Plant Payments Amid Capacity Crunch Concerns

The PUCT's decision to alter its pricing mechanisms is the latest in a series of regulatory responses to the retirement of large, aging coal and nuclear generators due to low natural gas and renewable energy prices.

Last week, ERCOT announced it had approved the indefinite mothballing of the 460 MW Gibbons Creek coal plant operated by the Texas Municipal Power Agency. That lowered the state's reserve margin — the amount of capacity it has above expected peak demand — from 8.1% to 7.4%.

ERCOT Sets Record Wind Output and Penetration Rate Over the Holiday Weekend

ERCOT Sets Record Wind Output and Penetration Rate Over the Holiday Weekend

Houston — The Electric Reliability Council of Texas set a new wind output record of 19.7 GW Monday, and a record percentage of regional power demand was served by wind generation over the past weekend, ERCOT data showed.

Wind generation hit as high as nearly 19.7 GW at 7:19 pm CST Monday, surpassing the previous record of 19.2 GW set in early December.

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies

Solar Farms Shine a Ray of Hope on Bees and Butterflies

The tidy rows of gleaming solar panels at Pine Gate Renewables facility in southwestern Oregon originally sat amid the squat grasses of a former cattle pasture. But in 2017 the company started sowing the 41-acre site with a colorful riot of native wildflowers. The shift was not merely aesthetic; similar projects at a growing number of solar farms around the country aim to help reverse the worrying declines in bees, butterflies and other key pollinating species observed in recent years.