AUSTIN – Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued this statement today following the passage of the Texas Senate’s power grid reform package. The package includes Senate Bill 6, Adding New Natural Gas Plants, SB 7, Continuing to Improve the Texas Grid, SB 2010, SB 2011, SB 2012, SB 2013, and Senate Joint Resolution 1, by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and SB 1287, SB 2014, and SB 2015 by Sen. Phil King, R-Weatherford:
“Since Winter Storm Uri, I have been abundantly clear that we must bring new dispatchable generation (primarily new natural gas plants) online as soon as possible to make sure that Texans have reliable power under any circumstance. The Senate’s grid reform package levels the playing field between dispatchable and renewable energy sources by elevating dispatchable energy sources to put ratepayers first.
“This package passed with a strong bipartisan majority because the Texas Senate and I recognize the importance of protecting lives that can be lost during a blackout. We also know improving our grid is essential for the Texas Miracle to continue throughout the 21st century. Texas’ economy is booming and we must have reliable generation to meet ever-increasing demand.”
SB 6 establishes the Texas Energy Insurance Program, outside of the competitive market, to operate 10,000 megawatts of natural gas or similar sources to ensure sufficient power is available at all times. SB 6 also creates a low interest loan program to maintain older dispatchable generation plants, similar to the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) for water infrastructure. This is not a tax on ratepayers. This is a smart usage of our multi-billion dollar budget surplus that will save ratepayers money over time by reducing interest rates from 6-7% to 0% for the financing of new generation plants.
SB 7 creates a new ancillary service for dispatchable generators and a calculation that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) can use to require generation to firm up to be more reliable.
SB 1287 requires the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) to establish a cost cap for generation interconnection costs to reduce transmission costs for consumers.
SB 2010 requires the Independent Market Monitor to report all potential market manipulations and all discovered or potential violations of PUC or ERCOT rules to be delivered in writing to PUC staff and requires the PUC to produce public annual reports.
SB 2011 updates Voluntary Mitigation Plan (VMP) requirements to ensure such plans provide meaningful protections against market power abuses.
SB 2012 places guardrails on the Performance Credit Mechanism (PCM) adopted by the PUC.
SB 2013 adds protections to prevent attacks on the Texas power grid.
SB 2014 eliminates Renewable Energy Credits to level the playing field between renewable generation and dispatchable generation.
SB 2015 creates a goal of 50% dispatchable energy for the ERCOT grid to level the playing field between dispatchable and renewable generation.