Texas Weighs Distributed Energy Policies
Despite its strong solar resources, Texas has seen limited distributed solar growth to date due to its lack of net metering or other policy support, according to Greentech Media. The state’s policies have also held back energy storage growth, according to The Dallas Morning News, highlighted by a recent announcement from the state’s largest utility (Oncor) that the company is scaling back its energy storage plans for the time being.
Greentech Media writes that ERCOT, the state’s grid operator, is drafting a proposal for an intermediate solution that would increase payments to distributed energy resources (DERs) without giving the full net metering rate. (Net metering compensates DERs at the retail rate, which includes both generation and distribution costs.) Currently, there is no method for compensating DERs based on hourly location-based energy prices.
Because solar generates power during the day, the system output tends to coincide with periods of high electricity demand. Also, DERs can be located in densely populated areas that might otherwise require power to be transmitted across congested power lines. ERCOT outlined three general scenarios for solar DERs: