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Houston Chronicle: Integrating Smaller Power Generators Could Save Texans $5.5B

Posted by L.M. Sixel on Nov 15, 2019

Houston Chronicle covered Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance's (TAEBA) new report that showed allowing more distributed energy resources  (DERs) to participate in the competitive energy market could have huge savings for customers, quoting TAEBA's Managing Director Suzanne Bertin. Read excerpts below and the entire Houston Chronicle piece here. Texas news outlets in San Antonio, Laredo, Midland, and Beaumont,  plus Oil & Gas 360 also featured the Houston Chronicle piece.

Electricity consumers in Texas could save nearly $5.5 billion over the next decade if Texas regulators and utilities did a better job integrating distributed energy resources such as backup generators, rooftop solar and batteries to reduce the need for building expensive peak power generation and transmission projects, according to a new study.

The Austin trade group Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance estimated Texas households could save an average of $456 over a decade if Texas did more to integrate backyard solar panels and quick-start natural gas micro turbines into transmission and distribution planning and allowing small-scale generators to participate in wholesale markets.

The small natural-gas powered generation units are the newest fixtures behind grocery stores, gas stations and factories as back-up power generation. Many companies invested in the units to keep food cold, cash registers and manufacturing processes running operating during storms and power outages. Other companies turn to back-up power during times of peak electricity demand when companies are paid to reduce their power consumption from the Texas grid...

The research found that Texas utilities don’t operate with enough transparency when planning distribution systems that connect to high-voltage transmission lines to deliver electricity to household and business customers. Planning is done behind closed doors and then the investments are recovered during rate hearings, leaving no opportunity for other technologies and more cost-effective options to be considered, said Suzanne Bertin, managing director of the alliance.

“It’s a black box,” she said. CenterPoint Energy, the regulated utility responsible for distributing power from generators to customers in the Houston area, said the company will facilitate easier and safe interconnection of private renewable energy resources with the smart grid as distributed energy grows...

Read the entire Houston Chronicle piece here. Also read this piece in other Texas news outlets in San Antonio, Laredo, Midland, and Beaumont. This piece can also be found in Oil & Gas 360.

Topics: AEE In The News