Texas posts 13 percent increase in energy from renewable sources

Voluntary participation in renewable energy credits up 29 percent
May 15, 2012, AUSTIN, TX -- Texas posted a 13 percent increase in energy generated by renewable sources in 2011, according to the state’s renewable energy credits registry administered by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), grid operator for most of the state.   The renewable energy recorded in the state’s renewable energy credit program was 31.7 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in 2011, compared to 28 million MWh in 2010 — a 13 percent increase — as reported in the Texas renewable energy credit program annual report, filed today at the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). Wind generation represented the largest share at nearly 30.8 million MWh.  Due to the ongoing drought in most of the state, generation of hydroelectric power decreased by more than half, while solar power generation more than doubled.
RENEWABLE ENERGY PRODUCED IN TEXAS
Fuel 
Type
2011 
(MWh)
2010 
(MWh)
Increase
(%)
Biomass 137,004 97,535 40
Hydro 267,113 609,257 -56
Landfill gas 497,645 464,904 7
Solar 36,580 14,449 153
Wind 30,769,674 26,828,660 15
Total 31,708,016 28,014,805 13
Competitive retail electric providers must acquire and retire renewable energy credits annually based on their load-ratio share of the state’s renewable portfolio standard mandate.  Any electric provider may voluntarily retire renewable energy credits to substantiate “green energy” claims.   A renewable energy credit (REC) is a tradable instrument that represents one megawatt-hour, or MWh, of renewable energy produced. For the fourth consecutive year, the RECs retired in the voluntary market exceeded the mandatory retirements:
  • Voluntary: 15.29 million RECs were retired in the voluntary market — a 29 percent increase over 2010’s record of 11.83 million;
  • Mandatory: 9 million RECs were retired by the state’s 177 competitive retail electricity providers in compliance with the state renewable portfolio standard;
  • Total: 24.32 million total RECs were retired in 2011, compared to 20.86 million in 2010, 15.73 million in 2009 and 13.5 million in 2008.
RENEWABLE ENERGY CREDIT RETIREMENTS
2011 (millions) 2010 (millions) 2009 (millions) 2008 (millions)
Retired for mandate 9.03 9.03 6.79 6.73
Voluntary retirements 15.29 11.83 8.94 6.77
Total 24.32 20.86 15.73 13.50
Since 2008, the program also has awarded compliance premiums for certain RECs that are generated by non-wind renewable energy sources.  For the purpose of the renewable portfolio standard requirements, one compliance premium is equal to one REC.  Last year, 16 companies received a total of 367,513 compliance premiums.
COMPLIANCE PREMIUMS – NON-WIND RENEWABLE SOURCES
2011 2010 2009 2008
Number of companies 16 11 10 5
Compliance premiums awarded 367,513 275,910 200,570 155,006
The Texas Legislature established the renewable portfolio standard as part of the restructuring of the state’s electricity market in 1999 to increase incentives for renewable energy production.  The PUC implemented the renewable energy credit program in 2001 and established ERCOT as the administrator.   The program currently includes 118 generation accounts representing a total of 11,287.8 MW of new renewable generation added in Texas since 1999.  (An additional 297.6 MW registered in the program is from six renewable generation resources that were in service prior to September 1999, for a total of 11,585 MW.)  Texas exceeded 10,000 MW of renewable capacity in 2009, achieving — more than 15 years early — the Texas Legislature’s goal of 10,000 MW of renewable generation by 2025.
CAPACITY REGISTERED IN TEXAS REC PROGRAM*
Fuel
Type
2011 
(MW)
2010 
(MW)
2009 
(MW)
2008 
(MW)
Biomass 132 108 40 37
Hydro 33 33 33 33
Landfill gas 92 88 80 72
Solar 70 21 1 1
Wind 10,961 10,265 9,915 8,158
Total 11,288* 10,515 10,069 8,301
*Does not include generation in service prior to September 1999. Totals vary due to rounding.The megawatts of capacity reported in the REC annual report may not align with total renewable resources registered in ERCOT planning reports and other reporting agencies because it includes renewable generation throughout Texas, not just ERCOT. In addition, the program is voluntary and only tracks renewable resource generation registered in the program.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 23 million Texas customers -- representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects 40,500 miles of transmission lines and more than 550 generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 6.7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipal-owned electric utilities.

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