Energy Exchange

Texas grid reform report card is in, and it isn’t good

Following the historic and crippling grid failure caused by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, the state of Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott and a bipartisan collection of elected leaders — pledged to ensure such a catastrophic disaster would never happen again.

The state Legislature, already in session, launched a series of hearings to find causes and culprits. Several organizations and energy experts provided state leaders suggestions and guidance; EDF was one of them. Our detailed report to the Legislature, issued in February 2021, recommended eight specific areas on which the state’s examination should focus.

Following the Legislature’s modest action, Gov. Abbott famously exclaimed, “Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”

A look back at what’s actually been done so far to strengthen the grid, however, tells a very different story. Comparing the state’s action against EDF’s suggestions reveals a remarkably lackluster response to the biggest failure of state infrastructure and oversight in recent memory.

As we prepare to recognize the first anniversary of the grid failure, EDF graded the state’s response against our eight core recommendations.

Read More »

Posted in Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Houston Metro and Mayor Turner show climate leadership with fleet electrification commitment

Last month Houston Metro voted to shift to purchasing only zero-emission buses by 2030 — the same year the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has set as a deadline to cut the world’s emissions in half. Both decisions are driven by the same goal: a healthier, safer and cleaner world for our kids. As the largest transit authority in Texas, with one of the nation’s largest fleets, Metro’s bold decision is to be applauded.

The move to procure a zero-emission fleet is a necessary one in the self-proclaimed “energy capital of the world,” which has dealt annually with the harm from a warming climate and extreme weather events — the unprecedented flooding of Hurricane Harvey and the fatal crippling of the unprepared power grid by the hard winter storm. In the face of a hotter world, we cannot just turn our air-conditioners up.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Electric Vehicles, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Current power crunch underscores Texas Legislature’s lackluster efforts to “fix the grid”

When Texas state senators and representatives return to their home districts this summer, they’ll be able to tell constituents they did something in response to this winter’s deadly energy crisis. But they better not brag. And they might face some difficult questions when constituents ask why the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas is facing another supply crisis during a very predictable warm June.

Because despite promises to make sure February’s grid failures are never repeated, the Legislature only passed modest grid-related bills this session. They missed a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass comprehensive electricity reforms that would have fortified the grid and protected Texans from increasingly frequent weather-related energy crises. And they spent an unforgivable amount of time and effort vilifying solar, wind and electric vehicles and considering punitive legislation that had nothing to do with February’s disaster.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Fossil fuel industry failed Texans during the freeze, now it’s using the crisis to attack renewables

February’s energy crisis did something no Texas politician has done in decades: It brought Texans together to demand our leaders in Austin fix the flawed energy system that failed so miserably, caused nearly $300 billion in damage and killed more than 200 Texans.

Unfortunately, fossil fuel interests and their willing allies in the Texas Legislature are pushing bills that would have absolutely zero impact on the problems that caused the crisis and would instead place additional costs on producers and customers of electricity generated by solar and wind. The Houston Chronicle called the bills a “cheap shot at renewable energy” and “shameless political opportunism aimed at helping the oil and gas industry profit off Texans’ misery.”

At issue are Senate Bill 1278 and House Bill 4466, companion bills that would force onto wind and solar power generators a disproportionate percentage of ERCOT’s “ancillary service” costs — costs that are currently divided equally among all electricity generators and then passed on to their customers.

Read More »

Posted in Clean Energy, Natural Gas, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

New report: Routine flaring in Texas’ Permian can be eliminated at little to no cost

A new analysis commissioned by EDF from Rystad Energy makes clear that flaring from Texas’ Permian oil and gas operations is persistent and is likely to increase in coming years as production rebounds from 2020, but that industry can eliminate most routine flaring at zero cost with simple rules and operator changes.

Following are key takeaways, but you can download Rystad’s entire report here.

Read More »

Posted in Flaring, Methane, Natural Gas, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

Simplifying the debate about routine flaring

There is broad and growing agreement that the practice of routinely flaring natural gas in Texas must quickly come to an end. The reason for this is obvious. Setting fire to natural gas produced at oil wells is a significant waste of resources and releases vast amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other harmful pollution into the atmosphere.

That’s why EDF and other environmental groups, investors, elected officials, communities and even some oil and gas companies are calling on the Texas Railroad Commission to end the practice as soon as possible.

What is Routine Flaring?

Sometimes discussions about routine flaring get bogged down in details, loopholes and special circumstances. But at its core, routine flaring and the need to end it are pretty simple.

Routine flaring occurs when an operator is producing oil (or gas condensates) from a well without a use or destination for the associated natural gas that is produced.

Read More »

Posted in Air Quality, Methane, Methane regulatons, Natural Gas / Language: / Comments are closed