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New Project Media: Interview: TAEBA Director Breaks Down Texas "Solar Boom" and Keys to Market Sustainability

Posted by Andrew Burnes on Aug 7, 2020

 

New Project Media reviews the recent rapid increase of solar development in Texas, quoting TAEBA's Suzanne Bertin. Read excerpts below and the entire New Project Media piece here (sub. req.). 

Duke Energy Renewables is on a tear in Texas, bringing both the Rambler Solar Project and Holstein Solar Project online in July, helping to add 400 MW of solar to its rapidly expanding solar portfolio in the state. This move isn't an anomaly; according to Duke Energy Renewables President Chris Fallon it's just the beginning of a targeted solar expansion for the company in the Lone Star State...


A document released by ERCOT back in June reveals that while there were only 2.7 GW of installed utility-scale solar capacity in Texas at the start of the summer, more than 72 GW of capacity was under study. And unlike the wind industry, which skews heavily toward loosely populated West Texas, these solar inquiries are "dispersed throughout the state."

But in a state that has historically been dominated by the wind industry, how is Texas' solar market succeeding while neighbors like Oklahoma are continuing to lag behind? Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance Managing Director Suzanne Bertin chalks it up to lowering costs and Texas' uniquely competitive market structure.

"Texas has established a competitive electricity market structure that, for the most part, competes on performance and price," Bertin told New Project Media in an interview. "Like wind before it, the costs for solar generation have dropped dramatically in recent years. Resources that are being developed in ERCOT are the lowest cost resources. This explains the recent solar energy boom here..."

This Texas "solar boom" is also contributing to the rise of the storage industry in Texas, as well. While local storage developers like Broad Reach Power are investing heavily in Texas, this market is also attracting the attention of overseas companies like the U.K.-based Kiwi Power, which is beginning investment in commercial and generation sites in Texas and marketing its "virtual power plant" model to the state's multiple competitive utilities.

Bertin says the key to capitalizing on all of these positive trends in the state's renewable energy markets is to stay out of the way, let the market work, and promote public policies that remove barriers for competition. "It's really no surprise that Texas is a top solar growth market given the Lone Star State's energy leadership," Bertin said.

"We just need to ensure we continue to implement thoughtful public policies that foster customer choice, promote markets over regulation, and remove barriers to competition to give Texas the opportunity to build upon this leadership to the benefit of Texas residents, businesses and the state's economy..."

Read the entire New Project Media piece here (sub. req.). 

Topics: AEE In The News