Texas has a $10Billion Solution for a 50-Hour Electricity Problem
Our news outlets over the last few weeks created a picture that the Texas Senate had solved the problem by proposing to spend $10 Billion dollars of consumers money for what is a 50 hour a year electricity problem.
The reality may be much different, as my sources say that the bill to write that check will be dead on arrival in the House and there are much more sensible strategies that will prevail. Unfortunately, Texas does not have a generation problem for all but 50 hours a year. When mother nature or murphy’s law creates a challenge, the grid must be able to respond and be resilient to ensure electric reliability for residents and businesses. While the challenge exists for an estimated ~50 hours per year, no one knows what hours and when?
However, what we do know is what needs to be a major part of the solution, one is to have customers set up to be able to stop using power at a moment’s notice, which means paying them enough to get them to participate. While not a super set of insights, this simple tool is overlooked when shiny objects abound. Put enough money in front of the customers to solve the problem and they will perform by stopping consumption when needed. The other element of the solution that is proven and cost effective is installing quick response generation into our local distribution grid, so that when the grid needs support it can quickly be activated to solve the problem. That same generator that could solve the grids problem but also be used to power a microgrid that can be used to provide power should the grid ever fail due to other weather events.
There are lots of other great ideas that could help address our grid issues but let us use common sense to solve the 50-hour problem, instead of an imagined problem that would make it necessary to spend our children’s future away.