While natural gas-fired generators complete with renewable power sources like wind and solar in the Texas electricity market, they are also complementary and the state will need both, according to a new study by The Brattle Group that was prepared for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition. According to former state Sen. Kip Averitt, now TCEC chairman, "increasing demand for additional electric generation capacity makes Texas an ideal test bed for the development of natural gas and renewable energy technologies. Having ramped up wind generation faster than any other state, Texas’ ability to integrate this renewable resource into its existing power system has the potential to be a model for others as they see the share of wind in their electricity supply increase," he says in a prepared release.
According to the study, "low natural gas prices have fueled concerns that natural gas will soon crowd out renewable resources, undermining Texas' progress towards the development of a thriving wind industry and towards reducing emissions." It goes on to say that despite that competition, "there is a strong complimentary (sic) relationship between natural gas and renewables." For one, gas-fired power plants "matches much better with intermittent renewable generation" from wind and solar. The current low prices of natural gas can also help cushion the higher up-front costs of renewables, the study says. A link to the study is here.
-- Jim Fuquay