Sierra Club Offers Five Point Plan for Energy Security in Texas
AUSTIN – Cyrus Reed, Acting Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club, submitted comments to the State Affairs Committee of the Texas House of Representatives concerning adequate electricity to meet Texas’ energy needs in the near future during a public meeting held today.
"Sierra Club shares the concern by our elected leaders, the Public Utility Commission and ERCOT about assuring adequate electricity supply for our growing population, although recent investments and a slightly lower demand indicate we should have enough power and reserves through 2014," said Cyrus Reed, Acting Chapter Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. "That is why we believe that clean energy solutions like solar, storage and demand response can help us meet our needs, and can help us avoid implementing slower, more cumbersome changes."
In comments submitted this week to both the Public Utility Commission and the State Affairs Committee, Sierra Club noted that among the challenges facing our electric market are issues of price, drought, environmental challenges, the huge debts of TXU-Luminant, and rules that make it difficult for some technologies to compete. Clean energy solutions will help meet all of these challenges.
Sierra Club introduced a five-point plan, which includes:
1. Responding to Sierra Club's rulemaking request to implement a 500 MW solar and geothermal power standard by 2015 and a 2,500 MW standard by 2025;
2. Updating ERCOT's interconnection process to make it relevant to solar resources and storage technologies;
3. Tweaking the required energy efficiency programs at utilities to allow greater goals and cost recovery, including technology which allows residential consumers to better control their timing and use of energy;
4. Implementing both an Hour-Ahead Market and allowing Energy Users to bid into the Energy-Only Market (Loads in SCED); and
5. Creating a new market ancillary service known as a Quality Market which would allow ERCOT to accept longer-term contracts for resources like gas-peakers, solar with storage and demand response intended to meet peak demand.
"We need a few tweaks in our market rules to allow demand response, solar and energy storage to bid into our energy and ancillary service market," explained Reed. "We are in favor of a quality market - which rewards resources that will help meet peak demand in a targeted way - not the proposal for a blanket capacity market that is currently on the table."