AUSTIN – Today the Texas Public Policy Foundation released the following statement on energy grid stability from Jason Isaac, Director of TPPF’s Life:Powered campaign.
“Texas has made significant progress in preventing our energy grid from experiencing another crisis like it did during winter storm Uri last year. Despite several close calls and requests by ERCOT to conserve power, the energy grid has met demand and we expect it do so the remainder of this year.
“However, unless Texas adds more dispatchable capacity over the next few years, the risk of continued crises will only deepen. The Texas economy continues to grow and requires a robust electric grid to support it.
“Identifying the problem is easy: the Texas market encourages dependence on federally subsidized variable, intermittent, and unreliable sources of energy, like wind and solar, that produce only a small fraction of the energy Texans need at critical times. On Monday at 1:00 PM, wind energy produced a paltry 3 percent of its installed capacity, rising to a high of just 14 percent later in the afternoon. Solar produces more consistently during the heat of the summer but does not produce anything on cold winter nights.
“The long-term consequence is that Texas keeps digging the hole it’s in. The more the market encourages and subsidizes unreliable energy, the less it builds and maintains the thermal generation that is available right when we need it. The policies regulating our energy market incentivize this catch 22.
“It took decades for Texas to get into this problem and it will take some time to fully solve it. As with most difficult solutions, the first step is to stop digging. Texas should counter the incentives that are encouraging investment in unreliable, intermittent energy sources. Texans have spent more than $60 billion to build new wind and solar generation over the last decade and very little to build new dispatchable generation. Texas does not need to spend more money on the grid, which would raise prices on Texans who are already strapped. It simply needs to use the money it spends more intelligently.
“The next step is to enforce a little common sense. The Texas Legislature should require electric generators to guarantee a specific amount of power. This ‘firming requirement,’ as it’s known, evens the playing field for all energy producers and corrects the bias the market currently has for variable energy sources that can’t provide – and don’t pay for – backup energy.
“Texas is a world leader in energy production. It is part of our cultural DNA and a tremendous source of pride for our state. Texans deserve better than managing from crisis to crisis. The good news is that it can fixed by the same proven principles that already make Texas the best state in the country to work, live, and raise a family. With a few solid reforms, our energy grid will once again generate that same sense of pride.”