Even Support from Businesses Like IKEA Is Not Enough for PUC
AUSTIN, TX – The Public Utility Commission delivered a slap in the face to the more than 6,000 Texans and 70 businesses and organizations who have actively called on the Commission to implement and expand the non-wind renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The non-wind RPS would establish a market for electricity from solar and other renewable energy resources in Texas, just as the State’s overall RPS did for wind energy. The non-wind RPS was passed into law in 2005, but has yet to be implemented by the PUC.
Democracy and the rule of law may be important tenants of our society, but they are utterly lacking at the PUC, where Commissioners refused to engage in even a single minute of public discussion on the matter before striking it down today.
Instead of gathering current information on the price of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and other renewable energy technologies, the PUC staff recommended denial based on data that is more than two years old. This illustrates a shocking lack of due diligence, given that solar prices have plummeted over the past two years and are now competitive with traditional energy sources, especially when demand is high. David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, told participants at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, “Solar is so cheap today that unless you tell me that you did a solar analysis yesterday, not last year or last month, then your analysis is out of date.”
The Commission appears to be committed to willful ignorance on this issue, but we’re not giving up. This is too important to the future of our state. The solar industry is going to continue to grow regardless of what the PUC does; it’s just a matter of whether it will grow in Texas and bring good jobs to Texans or if we will let other states and other countries leave us behind.
While misconceptions about the cost of solar energy persist, businesses and individuals who look at current prices have found an opportunity for energy savings by investing in solar. IKEA, a major international retailer, supports implementing and expanding the non-wind RPS in Texas. “While utilizing renewable resources for generating energy allows us to reduce our carbon footprint, it[s] also is good business since it significantly reduces operational costs,” states the company in its comments that they filed with the PUC.