Senators lay out grid fixes
- Mar 15, 2023 12:08 pm GMT
The nine bills, presented during a bipartisan news conference hosted by Lt. Gov.
"We know that it will take several years from this day forward to get plants in the ground to add more power, which we need," Patrick said at the news conference. "But this is the beginning of that process."
A host of lawmakers attended the Thursday conference, including Sens.
Senate Bill 6, a priority for Patrick, who presides over the
The bill also proposes to create a "low-cost loan program" to spur dispatchable energy — electricity from conventional power sources that could be fired up quickly — while creating an additional 10,000 megawatts of generation capacity, which is enough to power 7.5 million homes, Schwertner said.
"This proposal puts new steel in the ground, ensures more electrons are flowing on our power lines in times of critical need," Schwertner said. "That's the first part of this bill; the second part supports and maintains our current dispatchable generation."
Another Patrick priority bill, SB 7, looks to address federal tax credits earmarked for renewable energy and institute a yearly report from the PUC to the Legislature detailing the cost and efficiency of nondispatchable energy generation.
Meanwhile, SB 1287 would create a limit on how much consumers pay in their monthly electric bills for distribution and transmission fees.
"SB 1287 simply says that the PUC is going to set a limit," said King, the bill's author. "It is going to set a cap on average costs that Texans will pay when new generation is tied into the grid."
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How we got here
In January, state utility regulators with the PUC — which oversees the electrical grid's manager, the
Despite criticism that the plan is untested and could add potential costs to consumers, the PUC passed the measure with a 5-0 vote. Schwertner quickly pushed back on the measure, which had the endorsement of Gov.
Boiled down, the performance credit mechanism would obligate electricity companies that provide power to homes and businesses to buy "performance credits" from generators that earn them by being available during times of greatest strain on the power grid. The credits would be awarded to generators after the close of compliance periods, based on evaluations of their availability.
Schwertner, who authored Senate Bill 3 last session to make changes to the grid in response to the deadly
Then in February, during the Business and Commerce committee's initial meeting this session, which Schwertner missed after being arrested on a DUI charge the night before, PUC Chairman
"We're at a full stop," Lake told the committee. "And we are completely deferring to you all to give us direction."
With Thursday's bill filing, SB 2012 would alter the previous performance credit mechanism proposal by not allowing a reliability program or credits to be based on generation during times of high demand and low supply.
Additionally, credits would be available only to dispatchable energy generators, which excludes renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.
"This is not a move to a capacity market, but it is a move working with the PUC and their PCM planning, to take the best of that plan," Patrick said. "The other ideas by
On Thursday, 49% of the state's generation was powered by natural gas, with 14% coming from coal and 10% from nuclear generation, according to the
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