Statesman Op-Ed: Put Texans First in Rethinking Texas’ Electricity System
December 22, 2022
By Bret Biggart
If you’re following the news, you may have seen that the state is considering a massive redesign of its power grid. It could change the way we power Texas. More than that, it could cost billions and billions of dollars.
You know what’s missing?
Check out my op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman about the redesign and the need to adopt strategies that put Texans first. That means solutions that protect the grid and save money for consumers. That includes things like home weatherization and efficiency, virtual power plants, and, yes, increased use of solar power.
It should not start with new gas plants that Texas doesn’t need most of the time but still cost billions of dollars — money coming from your pocket. Lest we forget, it was gas infrastructure failures that caused the catastrophic winter blackouts in 2021.
You can find the whole piece at statesman.com, but here’s an excerpt:
… Lost in this debate are people the state should be helping — families, businesses and individuals who need reliable power they can afford. This conversation should focus on the 30 million Texans who don’t want to lose power during brief periods of extreme heat and cold, and who have to pay their electric bills year-round.
This process began nearly two years ago, when Winter Storm Uri froze the state, knocked out power across much of it, and caused hundreds of deaths. Ironically, the blackouts were triggered when the state’s gas supply froze — and now officials want to double down on that same infrastructure.
New power plants could cost Texans tens of billions of dollars. That’s money coming out of your pocket for electricity you don’t need most of the time. This kind of expensive, one-size-fits-all solution is not the Texas way. Instead, the state needs to consider the wide variety of innovative, technology-driven solutions that save people money and protect Texas’ power grid by meeting people where they are.
The Texas Legislature convenes in January, and energy will be at the top of a lot of agendas. Stay tuned for updates as we work to ensure that Texas creates a power system and grid that are reliable and affordable.