Clean Energy White Papers
- Since 2013, the Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC) has released a series of original, Texas-specific studies by The Brattle Group that analyze how natural gas and renewable energy might interact in the electric grid over the next 20 years, depending on a range of market and regulatory factors. The studies forecast changes in the electric grid overseen by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages 90% of the state’s electricity. Taken together, the ongoing Brattle-TCEC research is designed to provide state decision makers with reliable third-party data on how market forces can drive the transition to a cleaner, affordable and more reliable electric grid that relies on Texas-produced energy.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2015 -- Summary of Key Research: Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT
- This paper summarizes a series of three independent, Texas-specific research studies released by TCEC in 2013-14. The research analyzes how clean energy from natural gas and renewable energy, combined with expanded energy efficiency and demand response programs, could contribute to a cleaner, more reliable electric grid for Texas, and how this development might be affected by market and policy factors.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2015 -- Large-Scale Battery Storage for Clean Energy: Is Now the Time?
- One way to address the fact that wind and solar intensity varies over a 24-hour period (since the wind in West Texas usually blows harder at night and the sun only shines during the day) could be using large batteries to store excess renewable energy until it is needed. This paper summarizes a new report on the potential benefits of installing 25,000 dinner-table-size batteries around the state, and looks at some pros and cons.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2015 -- Solar Power in Texas
- Renewable resources like wind and solar power are already generating a significant amount of electricity in Texas, primarily due to rapid growth of wind generation. As the cost of solar technology continues to decline, a recent analysis from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas forecasts that solar power will make up an increasing share of the Texas renewable power grid.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2015 -- The Water-Energy Nexus
- One of the best ways to save water is by making our electric grid cleaner and more efficient. In addition to reducing carbon emissions and other forms of pollution, electricity from natural gas, wind and solar power uses significantly less water than the old coal-burning plants that powered Texas in the past. This paper explores this dynamic relationship between energy and water, known as the water-energy nexus.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2015 -- Should Texas Consider Exporting Clean Energy to Other States?
- Texas has always been an energy leader, and our leadership continues in the new clean energy economy. With our abundance of natural gas, wind and solar power, is it time for Texas to consider letting other states buy electricity made from Texas clean energy?
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Resource Adequacy: Meeting Texas' Energy Needs
- Regardless of the structure of the electric market, there are many policy tools available to help meet peak demand, lower wholesale market prices, and reduce the amount of generation that needs to be built to support a few peak hours of the year.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Demand Response for Commercial Users
- Demand Response programs are a cost-effective way to meet peak electric demand by offering incentives for electricity users who temporarily reduce their electricity usage when demand for electricity is greater than the supply, or during an emergency.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Demand Response for Residential Customers
- Residential electric customers make up over half of the energy usage in ERCOT during peak periods, especially hot summer afternoons. Policy changes could make it easier for residential customers to participate in Demand Response programs to lower prices and increase the reliability of our electric grid.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Energy Efficiency
- The cheapest energy is the energy you don't use -- which means increasing our energy efficiency goals, our cheapest energy resource. Although Texas led the way in energy efficiency a decade ago, we've now fallen behind other states; this paper discusses some ways we can catch up.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Energy Efficiency in Public Buildings
- Since 2001, public entities like state agencies, universities, large cities and counties have been required to meet an annual 5% energy reduction goal, but very few meet the goal or even report their progress as required by law. A 5% energy savings by state agencies alone could save taxpayers $10 million. This paper discusses some ways to get the process back on track and encourage money-saving energy efficiency programs for public buildings.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 -- Water Conservation
- With the hot, dry summer of 2011 fresh in our minds and experts predicting a prolonged drought, the Legislature is considering proposals to protect our water resources for the long term. Nearly everyone agrees that water conservation should play some role in the plan. This paper discusses some surprising finds about just how cost-effective water conservation could be. Conservation is by far the cheapest solution to our water needs.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Water-Energy Nexus
- Without adequate water supplies, many of the power plants in Texas would not be able to function. Conversely, without adequate supplies of electricity, Texas would not be able to operate the machinery that treats and pumps water to our state’s citizens, farms, and industrial users. The relationships and interdependencies between our energy and water resources in this “energy-water nexus” are becoming better understood and appreciated each day. The paper discusses these relationships.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2013 - Commercial PACE
- Property Assessment Clean Energy, or PACE, is an innovative way for property owners to finance energy efficiency upgrades to their property. By eliminating up-front costs, providing low-interest financing and making it easy to transfer the loan when the building is sold, PACE makes it more attractive for property owners to invest in making their buildings more water and energy efficient.
- Selling less product sounds unappealing to most companies, but it is exactly what we are asking our utilities to do when we encourage them to offer more energy efficiency programs.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Demand Response: Reducing the Demand for Energy When It Costs the Most
- There are many factors that contribute to volatile price spikes in the Texas wholesale energy market, but the lack of alternatives to expensive peak generation is often a cause. Demand Response (DR) resources can play a crucial role in alleviating this issue.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Energy Efficiency Access: Helping Ratepayers Get Their Money’s Worth
- A survey commissioned by the Public Utility Commission of Texas found that 77% of commercial customers in deregulated areas of the State were unaware of energy efficiency programs and incentives available to them (Itron 2008).
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Energy Efficiency Financing: Minimizing Rate Impacts of Efficiency Programs
- Even though energy efficiency is the cheapest and cleanest source of energy available, the way we pay for energy efficiency programs makes their short-term rate impacts artificially high. We need to find ways to encourage more energy efficiency while minimizing rate impacts.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Energy Efficiency Goals: The Cheapest Energy
- Energy efficiency is the cleanest and cheapest way to satisfy Texas’ growing energy demands. It is much more expensive to buy power than to save it through efficiency.
- In 1999, Texas pioneered an innovative policy mechanism called the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) which established a formal statewide energy efficiency goal.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Hybrid Power Plants: Co-locating Renewable Power with Natural Gas
- Just as a hybrid car gets power from two sources –gasoline and a battery – a power plant can become a hybrid plant when a renewable source of power is co-located with a coal or gas plant.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Non-Wind RPS: Encouraging a Diverse Mix of Renewables
- In 1999, Texas pioneered a policy to encourage the development of renewable energy in the State called the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). It has been a phenomenal success.
- In just seven years after the original RPS was established, Texas became the nation’s leader in wind capacity. The original RPS goal was achieved three years ahead of schedule, and the revised goal for 2025 was met in 2010.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - PACE: Removing Key Barriers for Clean Energy Projects
- Since the average homeowner in Texas only stays in their home for five years, this payback period dilemma is one of the major barriers to the widespread adoption of energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. Upfront cost is another. Property Assessed Clean Energy, or PACE, programs eliminate both issues.
- Under PACE programs, municipalities may offer financing for major energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to voluntary participants and get repaid through tax assessments on those properties.
- TCEC Guide to the Issues 2011 - Solar Rebates: Growing the Solar Industry in Texas
- There is massive untapped potential for the solar industry in Texas. Despite the fact that Texas has the most solar resources in the US, we ranked only 13th among states in solar energy production in 2009.