Texas Senate passes bills aimed at strengthening state's power grid

A package of bills aimed at strengthening the Texas power grid have passed in the Texas Senate.

State Senator Charles Schwertner, of Georgetown, authored Senate Bills 6 and 7.

Senate Bill 6 established the Texas Energy Insurance Program, and creates funding mechanisms for future construction of electricity-generating facilities.

Senate Bill 7 establishes guidelines for annual reporting of costs and legislative needs to reliably run the ERCOT power grid.

Sen. Schwertner said SB 6 guarantees steel in the ground, and zero-percent interest loans for dispatchable generators. He also said SB 7 brings "balance, and ensures equal contributions to reliability."

Critics of these bills argue they risk further air pollution, higher electricity costs, and hinder the growth of renewable energy in Texas.


Other bills passed in the package include:

  • SB 1287, requiring the Public Utility Commission of Texas to establish a cost cap for generation interconnection costs to reduce transmission costs; 
  • SB 2010, requiring the Independent market Monitor to report all potential market manipulations and all discovered or potential violations of PUC or ERCOT rules to be delivered in writing to PUC staff and requires the PUC to produce public annual reports;
  • SB 2011, which updates Voluntary Mitigation Plan requirements to ensure such plans provide meaningful protections against market power abuses;
  • SB 2012, which places guardrails on the Performance Credit Mechanism adopted by the PUC;
  • SB 2013, which adds protections to prevent attacks on the Texas power grid;
  • SB 2014, which eliminates Renewable Energy Credits to level the playing field between renewable generation and dispatchable generation; and
  • SB 2015, which creates a goal of 50% dispatchable energy for the ERCOT grid to level the playing field between dispatchable and renewable generation.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued a statement on Thursday, April 6 following the passage of the reform package.

"Since Winter Strm Uri, I have been abundantly clear that we must bring new dispatchable generation (primarily new natural gas plants) online as soon as possible to make sure that Texans have reliable power under any circumstance," Lt. Gov. Patrick said. "The Senate's grid reform package levels the playing field between dispatchable and renewable energy sources by elevating dispatchable energy sources to put ratepayers first."

"This package passed with a strong bipartisan majority because the Texas Senate and I recognize the importance of protecting lives that can be lost during a blackout," Lt. Gov. Patrick said. "We also know improving our grid is essential for the Texas Miracle to continue throughout the 21st century. Texas' economy is booming and we must have reliable generation to meet ever-increasing demand."