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Once again, Texas is clearly the national leader in energy production, with the EIA ranking it tops in the U.S. for both oil and gas and electricity production, according to new data released Thursday by the federal Energy Information Administration. The EIA’s latest State Energy Report notes Texas’ preeminent position in electricity, oil and gas and utility-scale wind energy production. […]
The cost of building onshore wind capacity has falling more than a fourth over the past eight years, while installed projects have nearly doubled, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. onshore wind generating capacity increased 74% from 2013 to 2019 to a total of 104 GW, including 9.6 GW built in 2019, the EIA reported Tuesday. The average […]
Battered by criticisms over its handling of the February winter storm crisis, the operator of the Texas grid is promising to step up oversight of utility power generation assets statewide and avoid another system breakdown. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas sent a letter to state Gov. Greg Abbot outlining its intended “road map” to be better prepared for winter […]
Legislation intended to ensure that the Texas power generation system does not have another meltdown as it did this winter was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott. Abbot’s signature propels Senate Bills 2 and 3 into law to reformer system operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). ERCOT and numerous utilities were blamed when about 52 GW of generation capacity went […]
The Texas grid operator appears to be headed for a showdown with electricity market participants, state regulators, and consumer groups over release of its finances. They want the statements to more fully understand why ERCOT wants to raise the mandatory fee charged to all electricity consumers within its market. So far ERCOT has turned down requests to be more forthcoming. (Ann de Rouffignac)
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas won't raise the fee it assesses electricity consumers this year but plans a 9% increase to 24¢/Mw-hr in 2003 and another 4% increase to 25¢/Mw-hr in 2004. Debt is also rising driven by the need to finance improvements in computer systems and software. (Ann de Rouffignac)
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) published a report May 11 that looked at the likely effect a series of environmental rules might have on power generation in the state.In short, ERCOT found gas-fired generation in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas most vulnerable to closure, primarily due to Clean Water Act rules known as Section 316(b) that deal with water intake systems. By contrast, ERCOT found few coal-fired assets threatened by the rules considered in the report, including 316(b), Hazardous Air Pollutant rules under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Air Transport rule and Coal Combustion Residuals Disposal rules.ERCOT's findings are even more interesting because they run counter to what at least one 2010 research report concluded: that coal-fired generation is vulnerable due to these federal Environmental Protection Agency rules.A Brattle Group report that Power Engineering magazine reported on earlier this year said as much as 15 percent of ERCOT coal-fired generating capacity could be forced to retire due to the rules. It went on to say that virtually all merchant coal capacity in ERCOT would be forced to retire if selective cataltyic reduction (SCR) systems and cooling towers were mandated.ERCOT's May 11 report says its scenario analysis paints a different picture. It indicates that coal generation in ERCOT "maintains sufficient market value to justify investment in additional environmental control technologies." The report says "it is unlikely that a significant amount of coal-fired generation will be retired unless several factors, such as low natural gas prices and carbon emission fees, combine to significantly reduce the economic viability of these units."By contrast, ERCOT says that older gas steam units that are subject to retrofit requirements are more likely to be retired. In many cases, this generation is less efficient and less flexible than new quick-start gas generation. What's more, many of these units are nearing the end of their useful life. As a result, "any requirement to upgrade these old inefficient units is likely to cause unit retirements."ERCOT says that imposing closed-loop cooling tower requirements as part of changes to Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act is likely to result in 8,000 MW of gas-fired generation retirements. Most of that capacity will be in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas. And most of these at-risk units are dispatched to provide peaking capacity. Replacing that capacity will likely require sufficient hours of scarcity pricing to justify new investment, the report says.The ERCOT report points out that even though a majority of coal-fired capacity in ERCOT has been operating more than 30 years, much of it is equipped with best-available emission control technology. For example, of 31 coal plants in ERCOT, 19 have a wet limestone scrubber and 18 have a baghouse. Eight coal units have an SCR device and 19 have closed-loop cooling towers."Given the curent prevalence of natural -gas fired generation in ERCOT, coal units represent a hedge against volatile natural gas prices," the report says. "Retirement of some of the existing coal fleet would likely increase the value of the remaining units as a source of fuel diversity."ERCOT's conclusion, therefore, is that a significant proportion of coal units that already have one or more control systems installed is unlikely to be retired as a result of the pending environmental regulations.
Woody Rickerson, director of Grid Coordination for ERCOT, is the new vice president of Grid Planning and Operations, while Kenan Ogelman, director of Energy Market Policy at CPS Energy, is the new vice president of Commercial Operations.
A consulting firm billed the state's electricity grid operator for hundreds of thousands of dollars in services from people who did not perform any work - including a dead man.
Texas' retail electricity pilot project could be delayed until at least October industry sources said despite state regulators' reassurances it will get under way this summer. The pilot was originally scheduled to begin June 1 but has been rescheduled twice. Full scale electric competition is scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2002. (By Ann de Rouffignac)