Texas Regulators Saved Customers Billions by Avoiding a Traditional Capacity Market

By [email protected] Texas’ independent system operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, faced a challenging year in 2011. Winter cold snaps and unusually hot summer temperatures pushed the system to the edge and required bringing some mothballed plants out of retirement under special contracts covering variable costs.

This situation triggered several years of debate at the Public Utility Commission of Texas on how best to guarantee long-term grid reliability and how to decide whether to supplement Texas’ energy-only market with a forward capacity market similar to those in the Eastern Interconnection.

Energy market revenues were seen as inadequate to stimulate new

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