Will the 2013 Texas Legislative Session Awaken a Sleeping Giant in the Solar Market?


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Texas has not begun to tap its enormous potential for solar energy production. Will 2013 be the year that the Texas State Legislature recognizes the huge opportunity that current solar technology and market conditions offer? Can we expect it to enact legislation unleashing massive solar energy development throughout the state?

Hear co-founder and executive director of Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) Russel Smith provide a summary of the past year’s out-of-session activity and a forecast of the actions expected from the 2013 Texas Legislative Session, then discover the potential impact on your business during a LIVE question-and-answer segment following Russel's presentation.

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  • Will the 2013 Texas Legislative Session Awaken a Sleeping Giant in the Solar Market?

    1. 1. Principal Solar Institute Will the 2013 Texas Legislative SessionAwaken a Sleeping Giant in the Solar Market? Russel Smith, Executive Director TREIA Russel Smith is the co-founder and executive director of Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA). His career spans more than three decades working with governmental, educational and non-profit boards, and on state committees promoting the development of solar wind, biomass, geothermal and hydro resources. Smith is also a founding member and former executive director of the educational non-profit Texas Solar Energy Society.
    2. 2. PV in Texas today SEIA says there are 255 solar involved companies in Texas At least 100 TREIA member companies involved in solar ERCOT - Renewable Credits Program shows 72.5 MW Solar Capacity SEIA - Texas has 76 MW solar ranking the state 13th nationally The Open PV Project says 123.98 MW, #6 ranked by capacity and #8 ranked by total installation count at 3,244 systems Texas often ranked as lowest to near lowest in installed cost
    3. 3. Rebate Roulette Downward trend in IOUs offering incentives and size of incentives – AEP-TCC: 2013 Incentive Budget: $360k total, $180k residential, $180k non- residential. Incentive Levels: Residential $1.50/wdc; non-residential $1.25/wdc. – AEP-TNC: 2013 Incentive Budget: $162.9k total, $90k residential, $72.9k non- residential. Incentive Levels: residential $1.50/wdc; non-residential $1.20/wdc. – SWEPCO - plans to continue program in 2013, Their planned incentive budget is $242k, with $81k in residential incentives and $162k in non-residential incentives. – EL PASO ELECTRIC - considering extending its solar programs into 2013 and 2014, in partnership with the City of El Paso. – ONCOR - plans to continue its residential and commercial solar programs in 2013. The programs may have a different design and incentive levels – TNMP – will discontinue solar program in 2013 – ENTERGY - discontinued solar program in 2012. No plan to offer in 2013.
    4. 4. Rebate Roulette, cont’dElectric Cooperatives - Small but growing number offer rebates: Bandera, Bluebonnet, Guadalupe Valley, CoServ, and PedernalesMunicipal utilities continue to lead: Austin Energy, CPS Energy, Bryan Texas Utility, San Marcos Electric Utility. - CPS – 400 MW by 2025 - Austin Energy – 400 MW by 2020 (Austin Local Solar Advisory Committee recommendation)
    5. 5. Texas Policy LandscapeMain controlling entities – Texas Legislature, Public Utility Commission of Texas, Electric Reliability Council of TexasStrongest federal governmental influences – U. S. Congress, EPA, ITC, FERC (Limited)
    6. 6. Texas Legislature - 20112011 Session (Highlights) – Statewide solar incentive failed – Non-Wind Goal failed – Revolving Loan Program for Community-based Organizations and Houses of Worship – Electric Storage Characterized as Generation Asset – Third Party Ownership Facilitated – HOA Restrictions on Solar Curtailed – Net Metering Required in El Paso Electric Territory
    7. 7. Interim TREIA Policy Activity TREIA Policy Luncheon w/Jon Wellinghoff, Chrmn, FERC PUC Project 39797 – 3rd Party Ownership/SB 981 Implementation PUC Project 39917 – Electric Storage/SB 943 Implementation TREIA Policy Luncheon w/“Trip” Doggett, Pres./CEO, ERCOT PUC Project 39973 – El Paso Electric CCN for Solar Installations TREIA Policy Statement on Distributed Renewable Gen. PUC Project 37897 – Resource Adequacy TREIA Electric Generation Adequacy & Reliability Forum – Texas Capitol
    8. 8. Interim TREIA Policy Activity, cont’d PUC Project 39674 – Energy Efficiency Program PUC Project 40268 – Resource Adequacy PUC Project 40480 – Policy Options On Resource Adequacy House Committee on Energy Resources TREIA Policy Luncheon featuring State Senator Jose Rodriguez Senate Business and Commerce Committee Senate Natural Resources Committee
    9. 9. Texas Legislature - 2013Energy not touted as priorityTexas’ complex electric utility structureGeneration resource adequacy may not be addressedPolitical philosophies shifted in recent timesImpact of elections still being analyzed
    10. 10. Texas Legislature – 2013, cont’dHouse of Representatives – 150 House Members – 95 Republican – 55 Democrat (7 seat gain, defeats super-majority) – 43 New – 24 Only in 2nd term
    11. 11. Texas Legislature – 2013, cont’dSenate – 32 Senate Members (Balance unchanged) – 20 Republican (5 new) – 12 Democrat Leadership – Rick Perry, Governor – Joe Straus, Speaker of the House – David Dewhurst, Lieutenant Governor
    12. 12. TREIA’s Policy Structure TREIA Board TREIA Policy Committee Chair Policy Subcommittees (Chairs/Co-Chairs) – Biomass Electric – Biomass Fuels – Geothermal Electric – Green Building and Geoexchange – Solar Water Heating – Distributed Solar – Utility-Scale Solar – Distributed Wind – Utility-Scale Wind
    13. 13. TREIA’s Policy Structure, cont’dTREIA’s Link to SEIA – TREIA has subsidiary organization – TXSEIA – TXSEIA is chapter of SEIA – Must be TREIA member to be TXSEIA member – Members of TREIA’s three solar related Subcommittees automatically TXSEIA members at no cost unless they elect not to be – TREIA names TXSEIA Board annually – TXSEIA Board names representative to SEIA’s Texas State Policy Committee – TXSEIA has appointed Clay Butler (TREIA Policy Committee Chair to that position – SEIA has selected Texas as one of 12 states for its policy efforts. Others are AZ, CA, CO, HI, MD, MA, NV, NJ, NY, OH, PA.
    14. 14. TREIA’s Policy Structure, cont’dLegislative Policy Development Process – Series of Policy Committee meetings – Policy Committee Chair solicits input from Subcommittee chairs – Policy Committee Chair develops draft Legislative Policy Objectives – Draft presented to Board for discussion, refinement – Board approves document (scheduled for Nov. 15) – Legislative Team Appointed – Objectives document made public, selectively circulated
    15. 15. TREIA’s Legislative Objectives Politics - the art of the possible Legislative Objectives document increasingly general Political climate is constantly shifting Command and control, funded programs out of favor Market approaches, removing barriers, no fiscal note are in Resources are limited TREIA must be strategic in its policy choices – pick battles Not all policy initiatives are best pursued legislatively Resource adequacy has become a major driver for TREIA policy initiatives in upcoming session
    16. 16. TREIA’s Legislative Objectives, cont’dTREIA Draft - Guiding Policy PrinciplesTREIA advocates for the increased development and use of renewable energy in Texas through means that: - Facilitate stable, sustainable, long-term market opportunities, rely on market mechanisms, reward performance, and eliminate barriers to efficient markets. - Acknowledge and fairly compensate for the benefits of renewable energy including reducing energy price uncertainty and volatility, conserving water, and improving the environment. - Leverage Texas’ innovation economy, skilled workforce, and private investment. - Maximize the value of renewable energy to all Texans at a reasonable cost.
    17. 17. TREIA’s Legislative Objectives, cont’dLikely subjects for legislation include: - Long term contracting between generators and customers - Assurance of resource diversity in any new electricity market structure - Defense of state’s Goal for Renewable Energy and CREZ laws - Consistent interconnection rules - Defense of and refinements to Chapter 313 property tax abatement statute - Defense of existing property tax and franchise tax breaks
    18. 18. TREIA’s Legislative Objectives, cont’dLikely subjects, cont’d - Revisions to existing Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) law - Improvements to utility energy efficiency programs to better encourage distributed renewable generation - Defense of and refinements to home owners association law - Improvements to Texas Emissions Reduction Program to encourage renewables development - Defense of LEED or equivalent standards for new state and university buildings
    19. 19. Questions and Discussion Please enter your questions into the “chat” window Russel Smith Executive Director, TREIA rsmith@treia.org +1-512-345-5446