Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Abbott tells the PUC to, like, “do something” about electricity and stuff

He’s a Very Serious man making Very Serious proposals.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday gave state electricity regulators marching orders to “improve electric reliability.”

In a letter to the Public Utility Commission, Abbott directed the three-person board of directors, who he appoints, to take action that would require renewable energy companies to pay for power when wind and solar aren’t able to provide it to the state’s main power grid, echoing a move state lawmakers rejected in May.

Abbott also told the PUC to incentivize companies to build and maintain nuclear, natural gas and coal power generation for the grid — which failed spectacularly during a February winter storm, leaving millions of Texans without power or heat for days in below freezing temperatures.

Texas energy experts were skeptical that Abbott’s orders would actually improve the reliability of the state grid, which operates mostly independently of the nation’s two other major grids.

“What is here is not a serious or prudent plan for improving the grid,” Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University, said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s more of a political job favoring some [energy] sources over others. For Texans to have a more reliable power supply, we need clearer thinking that makes the best of all the sources we have.”

Abbott’s letter also called on the PUC to direct the state’s main grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, to better schedule when power plants are offline, an issue that caused tension between state regulators and power generators after some power plants unexpectedly went offline in June and led ERCOT to ask Texans to turn their thermostats up to 78 degrees for a week during a heat wave to conserve energy.

Abbott responded to the plant outages by declaring the power grid “is better today than it’s ever been.”

Does anyone believe that? I don’t know what the odds are of another major power failure between now and, say, next November, but does anyone think such platitudes will be accepted by the public if one does happen? Even Dan Patrick thinks that power grid reform items – most of which never went anywhere during the session – should be on the special session agenda. Maybe we all get lucky and nothing bad happens any time soon, but if that’s the case it won’t be because Abbott was busy urging us all to clap louder.

Related Posts:

2 Comments

  1. Hal says:

    More proof that the only one Abbott cares about is King Greggo I.

    This vanity has I am sure led him to take coaching from King Donnie I. Even Abbott is not dumb enough to think up some of his recent stuff, like the dog hater veto. And of course “election security” top on the list si that Trump can be “reinstated”.

    Yeah and behind his back Trump is making jokes about Abbott bc he is in a wheelchair. And bc he kisses up to Trump so much.

  2. Lobo says:

    It’s pretty obvious what Abbott is doing … while the Dems are banging pots.

    He knows he has a big problem on his hands, and he is setting himself up to be able to blame the PUC if anything goes wrong. Once more. It couldn’t possibly be his fault if the lights and the A/C go out because he told the PUC to take care of that thing. So there.

    Abbott & Co. will just force out the new crop of PUCkster, and replace them with a new set of cronies. In the event the switch has to be flipped to off-load the populace for the greater good of the grid (and the generators).

    Worked just fine last time.

    It’s clear that Abbott does not want to fix “that thing”. He was exceptionally satisfied with what his Legislature had accomplished “for the people” with the exception of the unfinished business (Blame the Dems for going AWOL!), so why would he put grid-powering on the special session agenda? Remember that he said that all problems had been fixed (contrary to the cautionary conclusions of Republican leaders in the Lege at the end of the regular session).

    That vented, all the Texas Democratic Party can bring itself to is to chant:

    “Fix the grid!”

    What a pathetic lot!

    They already know that he is not going to do it. Much less in response to demands by the goddamn Democrats.

    And the problem is not even that the grid (i.e., the physical transmission infrastructure) is broken and needs fixing, the problem is the generators’ failure-to-perform, and the financial rewards they reap for their under-performance.

    Nor is the problem the absence of regulation or de-regulation. Much rather, the problem is the nature of the regulated “market structure” overseen by PUC and ERCOT, in which the incentives are all wrong.

    The electricity generating industry failed spectacularly during the winter storm. Millions of Texans were without power when they most needed it as a result of that failure. A few hundred died. But the industry was rewarded with billions in additional revenue they wouldn’t have collected had they performed as expected. — How is that possible? How is that sane?

    That’s truly exceptional, alright. Lone Star Lunatic Exceptionalism!

    Where is the Dems’ constructive critique of the GOP approach to energy supply and grid security? Where is a coherent package of measures, not to mention a strategic plan, to revamp the regulation of the electricity system in Texas so as to make it work for the people, as opposed to a de-facto cartel of modern-day Robber Barons?

    What can and will be done to avoid rewarding the producing side for failing to deliver electric energy as needed and expected? Allowing them make much more money by running at 50% of capacity, as opposed to full speed?

    The TDP can’t even be bothered to put together a summary of all the good energy, PUC-, and ERCOT-related reform proposals contained in bills of their own legislators: those many bills that were filed and in due course failed.

    Pathetic!

    THE RED MEAT CIRCUS

    Why would current nonvoters want to replace one set of incompetents with another set of incompetents that doesn’t even find it necessary to articulate potential solutions to known problems that are both serious and affect millions of Texans, if not all of them?

    Why would anyone on the sidelines want to vote for Democrats who have nothing to offer but denouncing, shaming, and blaming? …. Nothing but the equivalent of red-meat rhetoric of their own.

    More noise to tune out.