This blog is by TAB Policy Manager, Rebecca Grande
The Texas Association of Business (TAB) hosted the Interim CEO and President of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Brad Jones, for a TXBIZTalks webinar on Tuesday, August 9th.
ERCOT has seen record breaking demand this summer. Despite the increase in demand and usage, the grid has proven to be reliable by keeping power on and maintaining reserve capacity. TAB thanks Mr. Jones for his hard work and dedication to Texans during his time as Interim President and CEO.
Mr. Jones mentioned that the growth in renewables has contributed to affordable electric costs. Texas produces two times more wind power than any other states combined. The use of solar energy and battery storage are also rising, with Texas on track to becoming the largest solar producer in the country. While the federal funding potential from the Reconciliation Bill comes with a hefty price tag, Mr. Jones believes that pieces of the bill will put more money into Texas’ pocket than the state would have to pay to Washington. Translation: the cost reduction for renewable will be greater than the cost incurred.
Transparency and visibility into grid operations has increased during Mr. Jones’ time with ERCOT. Real-time grid reliability reports are available on the ERCOT app and grid operation status can even be found on local weather channels. Now, Texans are aware of the current grid status at any time. Mr. Jones also noted that he wants to increase notification timelines for conservation when needed. Previously, the public was notified to conserve energy right before an emergency would occur. Now, the public is notified of any conservation needs seven days beforehand.
When discussing ERCOT goals, the Interim CEO uses the acronym CARE. Clean, Affordable, Reliable, Electricity. After Winter Storm Uri in 2021, he argues that we move ‘Reliability’ to the front. When asked how businesses and chambers can help, he asked that the state continue to attract and retain dispatchable generation companies to maintain a resilient and reliable grid. Mr. Jones compared the current energy-only market to the Houston Astros, stating that only those who make it onto the field get paid. If this continued to be the case, we’d see less people in the dugout. He stated that for us to continue to grow and retain dispatchable generation, we need to move, gently and slowly, to a more reliability-based market.
TAB advocates for an ‘all-the-above’ energy approach. Renewable and non-renewable sources are needed to ensure reliability, so Texans lights stay on.
TAB looks forward to hosting additional TXBIZTalks this year on energy. For more information on energy related policy issues, please reach out to Rebecca Grande (email@example.com). For communications questions, please reach out to Katie Greer (firstname.lastname@example.org).