STATEMENT: ERCOT releases summer outlook for grid

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AUSTIN, Texas — At a joint news conference with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas (PUCT) on Wednesday, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) released its Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, which projects tight grid conditions this summer if, as expected, demand for electricity hits a new record. The PUC chairman preemptively disparaged wind and solar energy as potential causes of the situation, but ERCOT CEO Pablo Vegas said there was less than a 1% chance of wind and solar causing outages. 

During last summer’s heat and during the deep freeze of Winter Storm Uri in Feb. 2021, failures at fossil fuel power plants were the largest factors leading to insufficient power supply across the state. 

Wednesday’s news conference comes as the state Legislature considers bills that would, in effect, pick the winners and losers in the electric market by favoring fossil fuel power plants over wind and solar energy generators. 

In response, Environment Texas Executive Director Luke Metzger released the following statement:

“As wind power and solar energy replace fossil fuels, Texans are breathing healthier, cleaner air, consumers are saving billions of dollars on their electric bills, and clean energy sources are playing a critical role in keeping the lights and AC on – which will be crucial during the coming seasonal heat waves.

“As we build economies of scale, wind, solar and battery storage cost less than ever. In turn, more of this key clean energy infrastructure is under development. 

“This news should be heralded and welcomed – not blamed, contrary to evidence, for grid problems. As global warming-fueled record heat strains the grid, problems identified during the Texas freeze remain unresolved.

“We do need to make more fixes to the grid. Solutions include further weatherization of power plants and the fuel supply, more energy efficiency, more batteries, and interconnecting our grid with the rest of the country’s. These solutions will also protect the environment and consumers. Prolonging our dependency on pollution-spewing, fossil-fuel power plants is not the answer.”