Inside Clean Energy: Some Straight Talk about Renewables and Reliability. A former watchdog for Texas’ grid operator speaks out on legislation that would penalize wind and solar. Five hours into a Texas legislative hearing this month, it was Beth Garza’s turn to talk. Anybody who had dozed off was about to wake up. Garza approached the lectern and gave her credentials. She was, until 2019, the director of the office that serves as the public watchdog for the nonprofit company that runs the state’s electricity grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT. Then she let it rip, telling a Texas House committee that the bill they were debating, which would increase costs for operators of wind and solar power, was a very bad policy. “Imposing unforeseen costs on a certain type of resource would seem to be, at a minimum, discriminatory,” she said. Garza’s larger point was that the bill wouldn’t solve any problems. It would just make the current system more complicated and less fair. The bill would make owners of wind and solar plants pay for ERCOT services that maintain balance on the grid, while other types of power plants wouldn’t need to pay. Asked if she agreed with him that wind and solar power have reliability issues that lead to additional costs for maintaining the grid, compared to the reliability of conventional power plants. “I would disagree with you there, sir,” she said. Her larger point was that all types of power plants have reliability concerns and costs. It’s not that wind and solar are inherently less reliable. They have a role. They fit into an overall system. But in and of themselves, any resource has some unreliability associated with it that needs to be accounted for and addressed.
Inside Climate News 22nd April 2021 read more »