A diverse group of Texas energy leaders brought together by the Advanced Power Alliance on February 9th discussed the clear need for more, not less, energy in Texas. As the group looked back on the impacts of Winter Storm Uri, they highlighted that the need to update the Texas grid to accommodate the flow of multiple forms of energy is ever present and the needs do not stop there. Texas must continue to invest in new technology and infrastructure surrounding energy production, transportation, and storage. With a growing population and more and more companies calling Texas home, this need is critical.
Leaders from across the energy, business, and government sectors spoke on why investment in all forms of energy is crucial. The bottom line each participant in the call agreed on: No single energy source could have caused or prevented the blackouts last year, and the solution must be supporting Texas’ diverse energy portfolio.
“Over the past year there have been many headlines and tweets inaccurately blaming one energy resource as the point of failure for the electric grid, but the reality is those unprecedented frigid temperatures affected all power generation, whether coal, gas, wind, or solar. The false narrative that continues to surround these events has the power to put more lives at risk in the future,” said Jeff Clark, the Executive Director at the Advanced Power Alliance.
“To continue to move forward we need to accomplish two things,” said State Representative Drew Darby (R-72). “We must look for and improve transmission capacity and provide a framework for developers who want to bring power generation to Texas. These are topics we need to consider in the next legislative session.”
“Through the work of the legislature and incumbent energy companies we are working to improve,” said Matt Gallagher, CEO of Greenlake Energy Ventures and oil and gas producer and investor in energy technology. “The oil and gas sites are now registering as critical production and communication with the Texas Railroad Commission and the Public Utilities Commission is better. We have immense resources in traditional oil and gas and we must continue to work and communicate across sector lines if we want to ensure Texas resiliency.”
Caitlin Smith, Senior Director, Regulatory, External Affairs & ESG at Jupiter Power, a battery storage company said, “Texas needs traditional energies as well as wind, solar, and batteries and each of these technologies should be matched with the services that they can uniquely provide. During the storm last year our traditional resources couldn’t respond quickly enough, that’s why having some variation, like battery storage, that can respond really quickly helps with the overall resiliency of the grid. We’ve already seen that with 2022’s winter weather.”
State Representative Donna Howard (D-48) concluded with the call for increased communication. She said that Winter Storm Uri pointed out that “the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing and while we have made great strides to increase communication, we must continue to encourage a diverse energy portfolio. We have the resources, workforce, tech talent and education to leverage these resources and doing so will be good for all Texans, not just in grid reliability but in terms of energy costs and job creation.”
A recording of the conversation is here: