CREZ Plan could become national model.
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) issued
an Interim Final Order yesterday that could enable
construction of up to 22,806 Megawatts (MW) of new
wind power in Texas. A final order, transmission
plan, and budget are still pending before the Commission
but are expected to be finalized in early 2008.
"While many states are talking
about ways to bring more clean energy to customers
and improve air quality, Texas is doing it."
Managing Consultant of The Wind Coalition
The order designates five Competitive Renewable
Energy Zones (CREZs) in West Texas and the Texas
Panhandle and authorizes development of transmission
lines needed to deliver electricity produced in
those windy CREZ areas to customers throughout Texas.
"While many states are talking about ways to bring
more clean energy to customers and improve air quality,
Texas is doing it," says Mike Sloan, Managing Consultant
of The Wind Coalition, a regional wind advocacy
group operating in the south central United States.
Adds Sloan, "Texas' proactive transmission process
is drawing a lot of attention; we expect the CREZ
process to become a model for the nation."
Texas' CREZ model has already been embraced by
California and Colorado, with additional Western
states also considering its use.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
has initiated a Transmission Optimization Study
to develop options for delivering wind power from
the five CREZ zones to customers throughout the
ERCOT power grid, including Dallas, Houston and
San Antonio. Total wind capacity served in ERCOT's
studies, from both new and existing projects, will
range from 10,000 MW to 22,806 MW.
Based on ERCOT's 2006 CREZ analysis, 5,250 MW of
new wind installations would reduce customer payments
to power generators by $1.2 billion per year (equivalent
to $3.47 per month per residential customer).
Spurred by successful renewable energy development
policies, Texas surpassed California during 2006
to become the nation's leader in wind capacity.
The American Wind Energy Association reports that
Texas currently has more than 3,300 MW of installed
wind capacity out of the nation's total of 12,634
During 2007, Texas is expected to add more than
half of all new wind installations in the United