Is Texas lagging in an area of energy policy? Find out what the experts say
Texas likes to pride itself on a well-functioning electricity market. Residential prices have dipped below the national average. Customer complaints have fallen from previous years.
But when it comes to one area in particular — “distributed energy” — some experts believe Texas is falling behind. Distributed Energy, or DE, is defined as energy generated on the customer’s side of the electric meter. Think, for example, of electricity coming from small-scale diesel generators that otherwise provide backup power for large buildings. Rooftop solar panels also can provide distributed energy.
ERCOT, the organization that operates the state’s primary power grid, has begun considering ways to improve the use of distributed energy generation in Texas. ERCOT also wants to know how such generation can be incorporated into the complex, computerized system that it manages.
A recently released draft paper on Distributed Energy Resources could foreshadow the creation of new rules at the organization, also known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The draft was released earlier this month. You can read it here.
While distributed energy generation can be used solely as backup power, its potential is broader and many owners of distributed energy generators envision a day when they can offer their power into the wholesale electricity spot market just like power from more traditional generation plants.
But this form of generation has been difficult for ERCOT to contend with, and some critics say Texas lags behind other states in developing programs that would allow customers to benefit from small-scale generators at their homes or businesses.