Texas Lawmakers Discuss Energy Production Proposals


High voltage electrical towers | Image by Shutterstock

Two Texas senators reprimanded energy leaders when the Senate business and commerce committee held its latest meeting last Thursday to discuss proposals for revamping the energy production market.

The meeting on November 17 allowed state officials, including state Senators Charles Schwertner and Donna Campbell, to discuss proposals by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and the Electric Reliability Council (ERCOT) for enhancing power grid reliability. Also discussed were ideas for incentivizing power generation.

Previously, the PUCT collaborated with Energy+Environmental Economics (E3) to study options for market design in line with PUCT’s blueprint for reliability reforms.

The commission pledged in June that Texas’s power grid would be able to endure the upcoming winter. Concerns had been sparked by 2021’s Winter Storm Uri, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

“This study confirms that we can achieve even more dramatic improvements in reliability with minimal cost impact to consumers,” said PUCT Chairman Peter Lake in a press release on November 10.

“By combining the best elements of each design model into the performance credit mechanism (PCM), we create a system that ensures enough electricity when we need it most while incentivizing construction of new plants to deliver reliable power to Texas homes and businesses.”

Sen. Schwertner, chairman of the Senate business and commerce committee, expressed skepticism that the proposed plans would be able to generate the promised amount of energy.

“In looking at the E3 report, there’s a number of proposals that chairman Lake, you say, guarantee new dispatchable generation, requiring new thermal generation,” said Schwertner.

“To be quite frank, I don’t see their projections. 5.6 gw, but I don’t see requirement for new generation,” he continued.

Sen. Campbell expressed disappointment that E3 officials were not present to answer questions at the meeting last week.

“I think the fact that E3 was not there, and all of us were asked to look at this study—you’re going to present proposals—the fact that they’re not there to explain their research and process is bad form,” said Campbell.

The public utility commission told Fox 4 that E3 officials were not present at the meeting due to scheduling issues.

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