Last Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott sent a letter to the Public Utility Commission urging them to take action towards the improvement of electric reliability statewide.
“These immediate actions are in addition to any proposed changes resulting from the 87th regular legislative session, your workgroups, and the forthcoming Texas Energy Reliability Council” read the letter Abbott sent to the PUC.
However, his letter immediately raised concerns as his proposed actions include instructing ERCOT to establish a maintenance schedule for natural gas, coal, nuclear, and other non-renewable electricity generators.
“We must ensure that, at any point in time, ERCOT is utilizing non-renewable electricity in sufficient amounts to maintain reliable power throughout our state” Abbot said.
Other changes include streamlining incentives within the ERCOT market, allocating reliability costs to generation resources that cannot guarantee their own availability, and ordering ERCOT to accelerate the development of transmission projects that increase connectivity between existing or new dispatchable generation plants.
Abbott mentions in his letter, that these directives build upon the reforms passed in the 87th Legislative Session, a move many believe to be an excuse for not doing enough to weatherize the grid during the session or even to include it as an item in the special session.
Besides the regressive bet on fossil fuels and what seems to be Abbott’s strategy to convince Texans he is doing something for the grid, experts still don’t believe that his new propositions will make ERCOT more reliable.
Additionally, as reported by the Texas Tribune, the changes Abbott ordered will be functionally impossible for the PUC to institute before demand grows higher in August and again in winter, according to Alison Silverstein, an Austin-based energy consultant who worked for the PUC and with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.