Texas House advances plan to subsidize power plant weatherization

At-a-Glance:

A plan to help finance what will likely become mandatory power plant upgrades to withstand more extreme weather in the wake of the February power crisis received preliminary approval in the Texas House. To learn more, read “Texas House advances plan to subsidize power plant weatherization.” Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • House Bill 2000 and the corresponding House Joint Resolution 2 would allocate $2 billion of state funds to help finance what could be expensive – and likely mandatory – upgrades to power plants in Texas to withstand more extreme weather by providing electricity generators with access to grants and low-cost loans.
  • In 2013, the Legislature created the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, known as SWIFT, by allocating $2 billion from Texas’ economic stabilization fund. It offers subsidies and help with low-cost loans for municipal water infrastructure projects.
  • The “SURF” fund would function similarly, but instead of offering low-cost loans and grants to municipalities, the fund would also offer those financing tools to for-profit power generating companies and others to upgrade plants to withstand more extreme weather.
  • An amendment, which was adopted, would allow the fund to be used for projects that also reduce electricity demand on the grid.

Path to 100% Perspective:

As the energy transition continues, power plants must be able to balance and respond to the grid to produce power during periods when the renewable generation does not match the load – during the winter and unusual weather conditions such as heat waves. Many power plants in Texas were not designed for extreme ambient temperatures, which caused them to become inoperable during below freezing temperatures. Winterizing gas supply and power plants will be required to avoid another blackout scenario. Although it is more expensive to winterize the gas supply and power plants, it is necessary to offer reliability.

 

Photo by Anna Valberg on Unsplash

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