About CSHB 211 – Strenthening Renewable Standards in Texas

About the Committee Substitute for House Bill 211

How the bill works:

• Expands Texas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) – a market-based approach that has driven the Texas wind power industry to be the most affordable and available in the world.

• Builds on the success from the wind industry to call for a 1,500 megawatt “tier 2” goal for renewable power from solar, geothermal, biomass, and small-scale wind by 2022. The requirements will be phased in in small increments, beginning with 50 megawatts by 2013 and 100 megawatts by 2014.

• Recognizes the vital role that electricity storage plays in the reliability of the grid and expanding opportunities for renewable energy by allowing up to 500 MW of renewable energy storage to qualify for tier 2 (RECs) or renewable energy credits

• Seeks to reward early adopters of tier 2 renewable generation by allowing generation installed prior to 1999 to qualify for up to 40 MW of tier 2 RECs. This is designed to address and avoid a situation where a new biomass generator on one block is eligible to earn RECs, but a biomass generator (such as one located onsite of a paper mill or a wood manufacturer) that is older would not be able to earn RECs. With this provision, any biomass generator, regardless of age is eligible for RECs.

1. This addresses some of the issues from Temple Inland and the TX Forest Industries Council by allowing them to receive the same benefit as new biomass.

C.S.H.B. 211 provides important protections for rate payers:

• Keeps the cost of the program and REC prices low through a gradual, staged increase of the megawatt targets. Requirements are very small in the initial years and therefore cost of the program is very low. As the MW goals increase in later years, the costs are mitigated by innovations in technology, and economies of scale, that continue to drive costs down.

• The bill contains a safety valve if the program is not working by providing that if the commission on January 1, 2018, determines the state has not met the tier 2 goals outlined in this subsection, the commission may take action to suspend future tier 2 obligations.

C.S.H.B. 211 will create Texas jobs:

• Provides incentive for renewable energy produced by renewable energy equipment that is manufactured in Texas. — turbines, panels, etc — are manufactured in Texas, as determined by the PUC. This Made in Texas incentive applies to any renewable technology, tier 1 or tier 2
• A report by the university of Texas IC2 institute says that with the right policies, Texas can see as many as 123,000 new jobs from investing in the solar industry.
Here in Austin, SunPower is bringing 450 jobs for their regional HQ.

Who is covered:

• Under current law, Retail Electric Providers (REPs) statewide who have not opted out of competition are subject to the requirements of the RPS. The largest consumers of electricity may opt out under current law. The opt out provision was the result of a compromise on the RPS during the 80th session, and to date about 25 percent of industrial customers have opted out.

• C.S.H.B. 211 expands to include the state’s largest municipally owned utilities to the same obligations under the RPS that the competitive areas of the state do.