As the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) begins to propose reforms for the Texas electric grid and adopts a preliminary rule for weatherizing power plants, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Life:Powered initiative released a new research paper detailing the need for a “firming” requirement to ensure all generators contribute to the reliability needs of the Texas grid.
“Weatherization standards alone will not solve the reliability problems plaguing the Texas market, and we appreciate the PUC’s diligent efforts to address market reforms. As millions of Texans who suffered through the February blackouts learned firsthand, market-distorting policies that incentivize expansion of wind and solar while discouraging investment in more reliable generators are beginning to strain the grid,” said TPPF’s Brent Bennett. “In order to maintain affordable and reliable electricity for all Texans over the next decade, Texas must implement a strong statewide reliability standard to ensure all electric generators can provide power when Texans need it most — and that variable generators, not Texans, shoulder the cost of their unreliability.”
Initial memos and the open meeting held yesterday indicate the PUC commissioners are considering assigning certain costs to variable generators; however, the current proposals for addressing the systemic problems of wind and solar generation lean too heavily on hiding reliability costs and assigning them to ratepayers.
“We urge the PUC to not be distracted by many self-serving stakeholder proposals and to keep their focus on serving Texas ratepayers,” Bennett continued. “Allocating reliability costs to variable generators will provide an incentive for them to minimize those costs and prevent spiraling costs for subsidizing dispatchable generation. This reform will help ensure the best possible balance of low costs and reliability for ratepayers.”