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E&E News: 10 Ways to Fix the Power Grid

Posted by Edward Klump on Mar 11, 2021

E&E News detailed 10 ways Texas can improve its grid reliability following state-wide blackouts in February, quoting TAEBA’s Suzanne Bertin on how to combat extreme weather. Read excerpts below and the full story here.

Nearly a month after an arctic blast crippled Texas' main power grid, questions continue to fly about how to prevent a similar disaster from occurring again…

Plans for reform are focused largely on the region managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state's primary grid operator...

Here are [some] ways Texas could overhaul its electricity system to help keep the lights on:

2.    Weatherize energy assets

Having power plants unprepared for cold weather was a major reason the ERCOT grid came close to a catastrophic blackout in February.

While some assets had winter preparations, Abbott is calling for change. The governor has made winterizing and stabilizing power infrastructure a legislative priority to mandate and fund. The price tag for that could be substantial, though all plants may not require the same level of treatment.

"It's a big state," said Suzanne Bertin, managing director of the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance. "There could be a variety of solutions that need to be put in place to address the weatherization of generation in a way that makes sense."…

5.    Factor in renewables

Not all generation numbers are the same, which is a common point of tension as renewables become more prominent on the grid...

Vistra included some market design ideas in a list of policy response options it filed with the PUC to help address grid reliability, such as increasing generation reserve purchases and assigning incremental costs to intermittent renewables. It said costs could be allocated based on the expected reliability of renewable megawatts produced and included in renewables bids.

But Bertin called for a holistic look at the system and not making renewables bear the burden of the recent event, given that all technologies had issues.

"If the Legislature makes a move to increase costs on those technologies, then it ultimately ends up being a tax on consumers, because it raises overall wholesale market prices," she said…

6.    Harness the 'cheapest energy'

Better protection against the elements shouldn't be limited to energy infrastructure, according to energy efficiency advocates.

Taking actions to lower people's power consumption at home can help when extreme temperatures send demand surging…

Bertin of the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance said there are potential upgrades to make in distributed energy resources broadly — such as through energy efficiency, demand response, on-site solar, energy storage and electric vehicles.

"I think it's very clear that the state needs to do more on what I would characterize as community resilience," she said…

Read the full story here.

Topics: AEE In The News