PUC Can Move Texas Clean Jobs Forward!

Blue Wing Solar Plant goes online in San Antonio

Sierra Club Asks Public Utility Commission to Move Solar, Smart Grid, and Clean Energy Jobs forward in Texas

Responding to an invitation to present to the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club is calling on the PUC to coordinate with other state agencies to fluidly implement new clean energy laws passed by the State Legislature.

“Texas’ coal plants will soon have increasing difficulty and significant costs complying with new health-based EPA regulations and Texas needs to plan for that future,” noted Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It will be cheaper and healthier for Texas to retire these old coal plants.  With its rule-making, the PUC can help open up Texas markets and create jobs for Texans by encouraging new technologies such as – roof-top and utility-scale solar, demand response also known as ‘smart grid’, energy efficiency measures, and energy storage.”

The PUC workshop tomorrow — “The Cost & Impacts  of New Environmental Regulations and the Opportunity for a New, Cleaner Electrical Grid” comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement by San Antonio’s Mayor that the city’s publicly-owned utility, CPS Energy will close Deely, its oldest and dirtiest coal plant by 2018 and replace it with a combination of energy efficiency, and traditional and renewable resources.

Reed’s presentation points to a recent report “Review of the Potential Impacts of Proposed Environmental Regulations on the ERCOT System” by Texas’ grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on the impacts of four major, new environmental regulations being implemented by EPA.  Reed contends that the report is flawed saying, “it undercounts the costs of those regulations and ignores other important EPA regulations like the new standards for ozone pollution.”

Workers at Blue Wing Solar Plant

Reed’s presentation calls on the PUC to implement severally recently enacted pieces of legislation related to distributed renewable power, energy storage and energy efficiency.  He emphasizes that the PUC must finally implement the 500 megawatt, 2015 target for non-wind renewable resources like solar power, a target established by the Legislature back in 2005.

“The 500 megawatt solar rule should be adopted by the Commissioners at their next meeting on July 8 or their time runs out,” noted Reed. “There are already some 800 megawatts of solar power waiting for clarification from the PUC that there will be a market for their power.  These are Texas jobs waiting in the wings for their word.”

Reed also called on the PUC to start an 18-month process to produce a more comprehensive report on the impact of upcoming regulations on the Texas energy market.  This process will include:

  • Public participation;
  • An Advisory Committee; and
  • A set of recommendations to the 2013 Legislature.

The PUC meeting which is open to the public is scheduled to be held tomorrow, Wednesday, June 22 between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM on the 7th Floor of the Travis Building at 1701 Congress Avenue in Austin.  The workshop will include presentations by utilities, think-tanks, energy consultants and other stakeholders.

Information about the meeting can be found at: http://www.puc.state.tx.us/agency/calendar/AppointmentDetail.aspx?ID=136 

A copy of the Sierra Club presentation can be found at: https://texasgreenreport.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/cyrus_reed_presentation_to_puc_2011-06-22.pptx

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Posted by Donna Hoffman

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