Natural gas and renewable energy can provide 100% of the electricity Texas needs in the foreseeable future, according to a new report from the Brattle Group.
According to a new report conducted by researchers at the Brattle Group, prepared for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition, natural gas and renewable energy sources are more than capable of providing all of Texas’ electricity requirements over the next 20 years. The report, Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT Part IV: The Future of Clean Energy in ERCOT, analyzed Texas’ predicted electricity generation mix over the next 20 years, and forecast how market and regulatory factors affect how electricity will be generated in ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas), how much it will cost, and how much carbon dioxide will be emitted.
Specifically, the report highlighted the low costs of natural gas and the ever-expanding fleet of utility-scale solar PV projects across the state, as well as the United States’ largest fleet of wind turbines. The report’s authors also note that Texas’ electricity prices will remain “virtually the same” as in 2014, aside from outside inflation.
“Based on widely recognized market trends, it is very possible that natural gas prices will stay low (perhaps less than $4/MMBtu) and that solar prices will continue to drop significantly,” said Brattle Principal Dr. Ira Shavel, a noted energy economist. “Over the next 20 years, due to the free market alone ERCOT can expect to see a cleaner grid that relies on Texas-produced natural gas, wind and utility-scale PV solar power at little additional cost to consumers.”
Furthermore, as the authors of the report note:
The deregulation of the Texas electric market and other initiatives, such as adopting one of the first Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and investing in the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) for new transmission lines to bring renewable power to Texas cities, have laid the foundation for the ongoing transition to clean energy.
These political moves are the source of much of the success of Texas’ current electricity transition, according to Texas Clean Energy Coalition Chairman Kip Averitt, a former state senator and chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. “We hope this new information will help state leaders further understand the forces at work in the Texas electric marketplace and prevent distortions that might interfere with our transition to a cleaner, cost effective electric grid,” Averitt added.