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Austin American-Statesman (Opinion): Texas' rare opportunity to fix the energy marketplace

Posted by Suzanne Bertin on Oct 8, 2021

Austin American-Statesman ran Suzanne Bertin's opinion piece on reforming Texas's electricity market. Read snippets below and the full article here.

Abundant natural resources, free markets, and a strong commitment to innovation have long positioned Texas as an energy leader. However, Texans’ faith in that leadership was tested this year during Winter Storm Uri, and our state is still looking for solutions to reliably keep the lights on. After the storm, the Texas legislature tasked state regulators with fixing the energy marketplace. This is an opportunity to better integrate advanced energy technologies, like wind, solar, battery storage and efficiency, into the electric grid.

What does that look like? A reformed electricity system should perform like a symphony orchestra, with each instrument, or resource type, playing a different part. The drums set the beat and the tubas play a bass line, while the woodwinds or brass may carry melodies or harmonies depending. No matter if each player thinks their instrument is the most important, the fact is the group produces better, more interesting music as a whole. And with technology like wind, solar, EVs and battery storage advancing rapidly, our energy orchestra is delivering newer “instruments” to play in our electricity grid “symphony.”

But these instruments won’t be able to play together properly unless the Public Utility Commission of Texas makes some changes. Right now, the rules Texas has in place are not keeping pace with technology innovation, preventing some technologies from taking part in what is supposed to be a free market...

Integrating more technologies onto the electric grid won’t just make our energy more affordable, but also more reliable. Wind and solar, for instance, can provide Texans with affordable, easy-to-access fuel to keep the lights on, while battery storage can offer fast and flexible response when the wind doesn’t blow or when the sun is down...

Right now, the Public Utility Commission has the opportunity to shape what the Texas energy market will look like for years to come. As the commission looks to redesign the market, they’ll need to orchestrate thoughtful energy solutions to assure that it works effectively even during severe weather, and with a swath of advanced energy technologies all at the commission's disposal, our state stands to produce a full composition of reliable, resilient energy resources.

Read the full article here.

Topics: News Update, Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance