The Alliance for Clean Texas believes that Texas should continue to invest in and allow for further integration and expansion of renewable energy, energy storage, energy efficiency and demand response, taking advantage of our huge investment in smart meter technology.
Texas currently has more wind power than any other state in the US, and at the end of 2016, there was an estimated 18,000 MWs of wind power, and wind provided approximately 15 percent of the energy needs in the ERCOT market, which covers most of Texas. Solar power provides only a fraction of power in ERCOT, but new utility-scale solar plants came online in 2016 and many more are expected over the next two years. Indeed, ERCOT is predicting that by 2030, some 40 percent of our energy needs could be met by wind and solar power. ACT believes the most important step the 2017 Legislature can take to allow for further development in wind and solar is to allow the market to continue to work, such that wind, solar, coal, gas and nuclear compete for the electrons sold to the market. Schemes like capacity markets or back-up required power are expensive, unnecessary and will undermine our unique energy market.
Texas also an active market in Renewable Energy Credits that should be maintained and is largely voluntary. ACT groups believe it should be allowed to continue.
While we support tweaks to provide full transparency on economic development agreements for renewable energy and require proper oversight at the Comptroller office, the Legislature should allow Chapter 313 agreements to continue for renewable energy and manufacturing investments. Making the information more accessible so the public can see the results of these economic agreements, and making sure there is “clawback” if businesses fail to deliver on promised investment in jobs is also supported by our groups.
We also support continued investments through our Investor-Owned Utilities, municipalities and electric cooperative on energy efficiency and distributed energy, though we believe major changes are not needed this year.
Specific goals include:
- Authorize the Public Utility Commission to study the energy efficiency, distributed generation and demand response potential in the Texas markets, and ways to promote its growth;
- Ensure transparency in energy data so that retail electric providers and other energy companies can promote energy efficiency, distributed solar and demand response programs;
- Ensure that distributed and utility-scale solar generators get paid a fair market value when they produce energy at peak times.
- Modify Texas law to promote and allow financing mechanisms for residential and commercial energy efficiency and solar energy including special Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) districts, on-bill repayment and financing and Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans.
- Ensure that requirements to allow demand response to participate in energy markets move forward.
- Making onsite solar power more accessible to all Texans through promotion of “Solar-Ready” building code provisions.