The Texas Energy and Power Newsletter
Energy Capital Podcast
Electric Co-Ops and Local Power with John Padalino

Electric Co-Ops and Local Power with John Padalino

John Padalino joined me to discuss Bandera Electric Co-operative's cutting edge battery lease program, energy efficiency, demand response and more

At a winter preparedness workshop at the PUC held in October of last year, Commissioners asked several presenters if they could bring more resources online by Christmas. Of course, you can't build a big power plant that fast, but small distributed energy resources (DERs) — batteries, demand response, solar, etc. — can be added quite quickly. Still, most presenters said there simply wasn't enough time.

John Padalino of Bandera Electric Co-op, a member of the PUC's Aggregated Distributed Energy Resource (ADER) Task Force, said he thought it might be possible. This was a pleasant surprise for the Commission. What was even more surprising was that five days before Christmas, Bandera Electric Cooperative submitted a one-page filing with the Commission announcing the launch of a battery lease program. Here's a snippet from that filing:

Operating under the energy-as-a-service model, cooperative members can now subscribe to a service where Bandera Electric provides a comprehensive battery energy storage system capable of sustaining homes during outages. The first subscriptions are now fully energized and able to support the grid and members of the cooperative.

After reading this filing and hearing John speak, I invited him to be on this podcast where we talked about the details of Bandera Electric Co-op's innovative work, including this battery lease program. 


John discussed Bandera's high impact energy efficiency and demand response programs and how Bandera helps their members afford critical efficiency upgrades. We discussed why Bandera is a leader in the energy efficiency space, how this is reducing costs for their members, and what is stopping other co-ops from adopting similar programs. We also chatted about the future of the grid, Bandera’s role in managing DERs, and the potential of a more interconnected grid in Texas.

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3:17 - Background on Bandera Electric Co-op and role of electric co-ops

11:02 - How Uri changed the electricity service landscape; Texas as a winter peaking state; addressing the demand side and energy efficiency

21:22 - How Bandera’s energy efficiency programs work and what they prioritize on the demand side

25:26 - Member engagement and co-operative financing for heat pumps

27:42 - Bandera’s demand response filing and getting these types programs off the ground at larger scale

38:38 - Why more co-ops don’t (yet) have programs like Bandera’s

45:14 - Potential of future connections among co-ops and investor owned utilities

49:13 - The distribution system operator (DSO) model and how providing electricity service is evolving and will evolve at Bandera. 

51:21 - Evolution of battery storage and how Bandera’s battery lease program works

1:02:02 - The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and their role in reducing costs / improving reliability

1:05:42 - Importance of collaboration and Texans showing up for one another

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The Texas Energy and Power Newsletter
Energy Capital Podcast
The Energy Capital podcast focuses on Texas energy and power grid issues, featuring interviews with energy professionals, academics, policymakers, and advocates.