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Published on January 25, 2023
Texas Commission Approves Performance Credit Mechanism
Earlier this month, the Texas Public Utility Commission approved a proposal to overhaul the market for electricity in the state by a 5-0 vote.
In recent years, Texas has been working to make its electricity grid more dependable by encouraging private investment in what is known as dispatchable power generation.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) proposed a new performance credit mechanism to make the state’s power grid more dependable by encouraging private investment in dispatchable power generation.
The performance credit mechanism aims to incentivize the development of more flexible power generation, often referred to as “dispatchable” generation.
This type of generation is able to quickly turn on and off as needed and is typically powered by sources such as natural gas or other fossil fuels.
Proponents of the plan argue that it will create financial incentives to spur the construction of more of these types of generators while maintaining the principles of a free market structure of the state’s power grid.
Under the performance credit mechanism, power generators would be rewarded for being available during peak demand times on the grid.
These rewards, known as “performance credits,” would be purchased by electricity providers from generators who earn them by being ready to produce power during critical periods.
Unlike capacity markets, where generators are paid for their readiness, the performance credit mechanism awards credit based solely on actual performance.
Critics argue that the performance credit mechanism, which aims to incentivize private investment in new power plants, may put a strain on consumers’ wallets without any guarantee of new power plant construction.
A report from the state utility commission estimated that the mechanism could lead to an additional $460 million in annual expenses by 2026, equating to a 2% increase in projected costs if it isn’t implemented.
Opponents of the plan raise concerns that the added costs for consumers may not result in a guarantee of new power plants being built.
Critics raise concerns that the awarding of performance credits may not directly result in the actual development of new power plants and that power generators may simply leverage the credits to earn additional profits without fulfilling the promise of building new generators.
There’s been some debate about the relationship between companies getting rewards for good performance and actually building new power plants.
Some believe that even though companies may say they will build new power sources, there needs to be a way to make sure they actually follow through.
The next step is for the state’s leaders to look at the plans and decide.
As energy consumers in Texas, it is important to stay informed on the potential outcomes of this plan and how it may impact our energy costs in the future.