In June of this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a “Clean Power Plan” to reduce the amount of carbon produced by the energy sector. The proposed plan would set limits on the amount of carbon dioxide produced by power plants. This rule targets coal and natural gas fueled power plants and would lead to closing some of these units in favor of renewable energy sources.
Here in Texas, 90 percent of our electric load is managed by The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which recently produced a report analyzing the impact of this proposed rule on our state. The report’s findings show that these changes would likely reduce the reliability of our electric grid and increase costs for customers. According to the report, the reliability issue would impact areas in and around major urban areas, and the cost increase would lead to a 20 percent hike in your utility bill. Moreover, this plan would actually hinder the agency’s ability to integrate new renewable generation resources.
ERCOT believes that the market structure has actually encouraged energy generation to become more efficient and that the goals of reducing carbon will be met as industry develops new cost-efficient technologies and market conditions change. As the next Legislature approaches in January, I will continue to consider this issue and make sure that Texas’ electricity grid is ready to deliver reliable and cost efficient power to our homes.