Ron Crocker’s October 20th editorial, "Transmission Line – Tidbits" misstates the history behind building a Hill Country transmission line in order to provide a stronger Texas grid.
In 1999 then-Governor Bush signed legislation deregulating the generation and retail sales of electricity on the ERCOT grid, which services the Hill Country and 22 million Texans. As part of that legislation, state leaders adopted a minimum standard for energy generated by renewable sources of energy. Because of this forward-looking policy, the State of Texas now has wind generation capacity of more than 10,000 megawatts – enough electricity to power 2.5 million homes if every turbine is operational at a given point in time.
The development of wind has little to do with federal policy, and a lot to do with the fact Texas operates its own grid, free of federal control. Recognizing that Texas has a large supply of wind, and wind has no emissions, legislators created Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), and the Texas Public Utility Commission is now approving transmission lines under CREZ to essentially double the amount of wind our grid can handle.
One of the reasons lawmakers created CREZ is because the state will yield long-term savings beyond the initial cost of building the lines due to money saved from less fuel generation. According to a recent study by economist Ray Perryman, the typical residential customer will save between $160.93 and $354.94 per year (those numbers include the cost of building transmission lines).
Wind energy is not only good for ratepayers, it is good for the environment, and it creates jobs. When you consider the alternatives – such as building several more coal plants or another nuclear plant – one new transmission line in the Hill Country makes a lot more sense.
Paul Sadler, Executive Director
The Wind Coalition