United States

United States

Small cloud on the horizon

One modification of the Texas Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), which could slightly dent the entry of renewables into one region of the state, is looking as if it will be passed by the state legislature. Efforts were underway last month to delay implementation of the RPS in the Texas Panhandle by as much as five years -- or until consumer prices are guaranteed at a fixed level. The Panhandle, the most northerly part of Texas and which includes Amarillo, is not part of the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and is thus subject to different regulatory influences, backers of the legislation are arguing.

The area however is sparsely populated. "The bottom line is, I don't think it will have that much effect," says Russel Smith of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association. "It's a small proportion of the demand." The one wind project in the region, an 80 MW plant about 40 miles east of Amarillo by Cielo Wind Power, is expected to go-ahead. Output will be sold under a 15 year power purchase agreement to Southwestern Public Service Company, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy of Minneapolis.

Even so, the legislation is a sharp reminder that the RPS can be changed. California's high-profile and bungled electricity deregulation has stirred up fears about electricity deregulation and high consumer prices throughout the US. Regulators are wary of any law that might further impact electricity ratepayers.

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