On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of participating on a panel hosted by the Texas Tribune that centered on the future of Texas’ power grid and electric reliability. Joining me was John Fainter, president and CEO of Association of Electric Companies of Texas, Inc; Trip Doggett, president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas; and Doyle Beneby, president and CEO of CPS Energy, San Antonio's municipal utility. The panel, entitled Keeping the Lights on in Texas, took place at and was broadcasted from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. It's a worthwhile watch and I'm encouraged that Texas Tribune is dedicated to investigating Texas' energy issues.
For about an hour, we discussed a variety of aspects in the current and future energy landscape of the Lone Star State. In particular, I focused on the exciting shift to give people power over their electricity use, save money, and help the environment with every flip of the switch.
This mostly high-level overview strikes a good balance of being informative yet understandable, and highlights the need for further discussion. I highlighted areas where EDF is working to advance clean energy in the state, advocating for the expansion of demand response, rooftop solar energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles, large-scale renewables like wind farms, and energy storage. As Mr. Beneby joked, we could've talked for hours about demand response, an innovative tool leveraged by utilities to reward people who use less electricity during times of peak, or high, energy demand.
Throughout the panel, it rang clear that people and businesses are an essential part of Texas’ energy future and they must be engaged and equipped with knowledge. Individual engagement is essential as a two-way relationship between electric utilities and people replaces the outdated electric system created 100 years ago. People will have control over the creation and reduction of their energy use in ways we have never experienced.