Texas Grid Roundup, January 19, 2024
This issue of the Texas Grid Roundup includes updates on an important PUC decision on battery storage, a new ERCOT reliability standard, the "value of lost load," and more
This is a new feature of the Texas Energy and Power Newsletter. At least twice a month, we’ll publish a succinct digest highlighting interesting filings, important meetings, and other similar developments for paid subscribers. As always, please let us know what kinds of information are most important and helpful for you.
Moments before this was published, the Governor announced the appointment of Thomas Gleeson as Chair of the PUC. Gleeson has been on the PUC’s staff for 15 years and served as Executive Director for the last three years. The Commission now has 4 of its 5 positions filled. Gleeson will need to be confirmed by the Senate the next time there is a regular or special session.
The PUC met yesterday and rejected NPRR 1186, a protocol change designed to put additional burdensome regulations on battery storage (for background on 1186 see here and here). The commissioners deemed the protocol unnecessary given that penalty structures already exist and that the protocol revision would have singled out batteries for penalties.
ERCOT had faced resistance from the PUC for months and was asked on several occasions to present evidence for why the regulation was needed. The presentation seemed to undercut rather than strengthen ERCOT’s argument; it showed similar failure rates for storage as for thermal resources in ancillary service markets. “This presentation that ERCOT put together shows me one thing, really, and that is that every resource fails,” said Commissioner Glotfelty. “They all fail… So singling out ancillary services providers of battery storage is discriminatory.”
The three commissioners unanimously rejected the NPRR. This is rare and important. It allows batteries to continue their fast growth, with about 300-500 megawatts of fast-acting dispatchable resources expected to be added on average every month this year.
And perhaps more importantly, it shows the PUC will not be a rubber stamp for ERCOT.
While NPRR 1186 was the headline issue, it wasn’t the only important topic taken up at the meeting yesterday. The Commission and ERCOT are attempting to quantify more precisely the “Value of Lost Load” and will be surveying the public starting in March, so if you’d like to tell power regulators and ERCOT how much you value power, you’ll soon get your chance.
More informtation on that and the struggle to create a new reliability standard, the performance of existing ties to other grids (and the potential impact of adding more ties), is available below for paid subscribers. As always, if you want to follow along and cannot afford a subscription, please request a complimentary one by emailing email@example.com. The support of paid subscribers is greatly appreciated.