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Texas Executive Forum Grapples with the Next Phase of Grid Innovation: Integrating Distributed Energy Resources

TAEBA Exec Forum 2019-cropped-730

Top executives in the Texas advanced energy sector met last week in Austin for an Executive Forum put on by the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance (TAEBA). The topic: The Next Frontier in Texas Electric Competition: Integrating Storage and Distributed Energy Resources. The exclusive gathering drew over 25 key figures in business and regulation, including Public Utility Commission of Texas Commissioner Arthur D’Andrea, ERCOT CEO Bill Magness, and former PUCT and FERC Chairman Pat Wood. Industry leaders participating included executives from Greenlots, EVgo, CPower, Enel X, Landis & Gyr, Recurve, Savion, Siemens, Stem, Demand Side Analytics, ENGIE North America, Hunt BEE Network, and Rocky Mountain Institute. The daylong session was co-hosted and sponsored by Eversheds-Sutherland and Husch Blackwell and moderated by TAEBA’s Suzanne Bertin and AEE’s Caitlin Marquis.

Texas  policy makers have taken bold steps to restructure the market, create retail competition, and develop renewable energy. These efforts have established Texas as a leader in wind energy and the Lone Star state is fast becoming a hotbed for large-scale solar. The next phase in this transformation will come with the integration of such advanced energy technologies as grid-scale energy storage and distributed energy resources (DERs), including onsite storage, distributed generation, demand response, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles along with associated charging equipment. Ensuring that competitive markets fully integrate these technologies represents the next frontier in Texas electric evolution, and TAEBA, representing AEE in Texas, is at the forefront of convening industry leaders, regulators, legislators and other key influencers to make the next phase as successful as earlier ones.

Kicking off the discussion, Bill Magness explained ERCOT's aggressive timeline for 2020 on protocols to facilitate advanced energy market participation. Following Bill’s stage-setting remarks, past and present commissioners shared their perspectives on the evolving ERCOT market. Afternoon sessions included a presentation on the value of the market opportunity for DERs in ERCOT, a discussion of non-wires solutions (NWS) best practices and how they might be applied within the competitive ERCOT market, and a discussion on electric vehicles as a special case of DER. 

In both full-group sessions and breakouts, it became clear there is enthusiasm for TAEBA’s market-based, technology-neutral policy approach and a commitment to identify and remove barriers to competition. TAEBA will continue to provide insights and recommendations as ERCOT grapples with these issues in the coming year.

“I'm really impressed by all these smart people coming together,” one participant remarked. “Don't let it end here!” It certainly won’t. TAEBA and AEE convene Executive Forums throughout the year, bringing together key stakeholders who are invested in a given topic so that everyone brings expertise and all participants come away having expanded their knowledge and made new connections. These invitation-only events complement AEE’s public events, including our regional conferences, Advanced Energy Now | East, to be held May 21, 2020, in Annapolis, MD (registration now open), and Advanced Energy Now | West, December 3, 2020 in Denver, CO.

 

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