- The Electric Reliability Council of Texas' analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency's final Clean Power Plan shows the state may have a slightly easier time complying, and the retail impacts will be less than expected under the draft plan, Platts reports.
- Retail prices could still rise by 16% by 2030, but the grid operator had previously estimated impacts as high as 20%.
- Solar generation will get a boost under the new rules, but coal plant retirements are also fewer than previously anticipated under some scenarios.
The grid operator for most of Texas says overall compliance may be easier than originally thought, but the Clean Power Plan (CPP) could still have serious impacts on reliability. The regulation calls for a nationwide 32% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 below 2005 levels.
"We continue to have concerns about the potential impacts on planning and operation of the ERCOT power grid," said ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett in a statement. "Based on our analysis, we are especially concerned about reliability risks associated with multiple unit retirements within a short timeframe."
Under the CPP, Texas must slash 32.9% of its power plant carbon emissions. ERCOT now says it expects roughly 4,000 MW of generation capacity would retire in order to comply by 2030, and that number increases to about 4,700 MW when EPA's Regional Haze requirements are taken into consideration. But as Platts points out, a study done on the preliminary rule last year anticipated retirements of 3,300 to 5,700 MW, with retail implications around 20%.
ERCOT also believes that in scenarios that include a price for carbon emissions, more than 14,000 MW of utility-scale solar, 9,000 MW of wind capacity and nearly 3,000 MW of new gas-fired combustion turbines would be added to achieve compliance within the ERCOT market. In June, the grid operator alongside Colorado's major power producer, Xcel Energy, also modeled scenarios to figure out how to successfully integrate renewable penetration levels to 50% for the CPP.
The grid operator anticipates a gradual increase in natural gas prices over time, to a little more than $6/MMBtu by 2030, and a continued decrease in capital costs associated with wind and solar development.
"As new technologies emerge and market conditions change, the grid is changing," Doggett said. "Our market is designed to encourage new, more efficient technologies, but that change needs to occur at a pace that supports continued reliability."