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ERCOT Report Shows Continued Cut Backs on Coal Reliance and Increases in Natural Gas and Renewables

changing energy industry

In an extensive report put out by the Brattle Group, natural gas and renewable energies will continue to make up the bulk of the energy portfolio that serves Texas.

Over the next 20 years the role that coal plays in providing power to Texas will continue to diminish, perhaps just not as fast as experts had hoped.  Rising prices of natural gas have slowed coal’s reduction putting it’s numbers at about 23% of the Texas energy generation capacity.

But, as the report details, we cam expect these percentages to fall further as natural gas and renewables continue to be expanded and developed over the next twenty years.  

While the report is quite exhaustive, some of the main findings are detailed below:

  • Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Could Mean Lower Energy Costs

The proposed reduction of 3 giga-watts during peaks looks to be achievable by the new enegry efficiency programs.  This in addition to the 2 to 4 giga-watts created by new programs could be music to the ears of Texas residents.

  • Natural Gas and Renewables Play the Biggest Part 

Pulling ahead with the biggest percentages is natural gas and renewables.  These two sources dominate the supply picture with natural gas in the lead and secondary energy sources like solar and wind not far behind.

  • CHP Units Have the Potential To Save, But the Savings are Relative to the Size

The report cites a simulation of both large and small CHP (combined heat and power) units and their impact on costs and effectiveness.  The report showed that when these units were larger, the impact was more favorably noticeable.  However, smaller CHP units were shown to not be as effective due to the large upfront costs and rapid payback required.

  • Energy Efficiency and Demand Response Slightly Reduce Carbon Emissions

By compiling the effects of higher gas prices, a lower load growth, improvemtns in demand response and the uptake of combined heat and power unit installations, CO2 emissions are projected to fall a modest 4% by 2032.

You can see the report in its entirety here and a condensed version of the report here.

Carlee Quintas's picture

Thank Carlee for the Post!

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Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on July 20, 2014

Carlee, do you have a source for this statistic:

Rising prices of natural gas have slowed coal’s reduction putting it’s numbers at about 23% of the Texas energy generation capacity.

EIA numbers show coal was responsible for 34% of Texas’s electricity in February 2014.

Carlee Quintas's picture
Carlee Quintas on July 21, 2014


Thanks so much for commenting! I found that statistic within the publication from Brattle Group, which was prepared for the Texas Clean Energy Coalition. If you pay close attention to their Chapter 5: Characterizing Energy Efficiency in ERCOT it provides a lot of information about current energy use in Texas and also Chapter 7 which shows their results and discussion of said results. 

Carlee Quintas's picture
Carlee Quintas on July 21, 2014

Also, here’s another great article that shows the statistics for US Natural Gas output for June of 2014, which is really interesting!–US-natural-gas-output-in-June-breaks-daily-record-18715374/ 


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