On the Blogs: Texas Acknowledges a Sea Change in Its Solar Outlook

first_imgOn the Blogs: Texas Acknowledges a Sea Change in Its Solar Outlook FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mike Jacobs for the Union of Concerned Scientists:Something unprecedented just happened on the renewable energy front in Texas that is likely to reverberate in energy markets across the country.ERCOT, the entity that manages the flow of electric power to some 24 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load, has posted its predictions of where the state will be able to find the cheapest electricity over the next 15 years. Insiders knew this was brewing, and a formal discussion in planning circles is scheduled for June 21.As it usually does, ERCOT looked at a range of scenarios. The group mapped potential bulk power purchases from 2017 to 2031 under six different scenarios, including low gas prices, high economic growth, etc. And here’s the part that marks a momentous tipping point: solar power emerged as a clear economic winner in the state in all seven scenarios. In other words, ERCOT is saying that the price of solar power in Texas is now low enough that it predicts no other power plant types will be built.It’s hard to overstate what a remarkable change this under-the-radar industry assessment represents. First of all, this happened in Texas, where competition to supply electricity is unfettered, and existing power plants have no guarantees or privileged status. In this environment, ERCOT is showing that solar is priced low enough to beat the cost of other new plants.ERCOT’s predictions follow several reports that Texas solar projects have sold energy at ground-breaking low prices.  Certainly, Texas benefits from the wide expanses of land and ample sun, but it is just a matter of time and good business development before similar economics take hold in other states as well.So, one effect of the ERCOT predictions will surely be to increase the pressure on policy makers not to shield existing fossil-fuel generation from healthy competition.Full item: Solar Power Plants are the Future of Texas Power. Every Time.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *