As Texas sweats beneath a heat dome, energy companies are fighting to keep the cost of electricity low. But renewable energy is doing a lot of the heavy lifting.
Lower Operating Costs
During peak demand times, solar and wind power can help stabilize electricity prices. These technologies do not require the expensive cooling systems for natural gas plants. Their output stays consistent because they are less susceptible to temperature fluctuations than fossil fuels. This helps keep wholesale electricity prices down and makes renewable energy a cost-effective choice for consumers.
As the amount of wind and solar power in Texas continues to grow, it’s also decreasing the need for costly natural gas generation. This helps stabilize electricity prices and provides a much-needed revenue stream for rural communities. Additionally, many of the wind and solar farms are located in sparsely populated areas, and they are often the top taxpayers in those counties, generating much-needed money for schools and local services.
For instance, https://energypricing.com typically offers consumers various plans and contracts. These may include fixed-rate, variable-rate, time-of-use, and plans with renewable energy options. Consumers can select the plan that best fits their preferences and needs.
Lower Transmission Costs
As wind and solar farms are located across a broad geographic area, they help to stabilize energy prices and reduce the impact of regional events on electricity rates. Moreover, these power projects can often be shut down or ramped up quickly, which helps to improve grid reliability.
As mentioned, renewable energy has a much lower operating cost than fossil fuels, so it is typically the first power to be put on the market. This lowers prices and puts financial pressure on coal, nuclear, and natural gas plants that incur significant fuel costs when they produce energy.
Increasing renewable energy also helps lower transmission costs, an essential component of the wholesale electricity rate. Transmission costs vary significantly, but the cheapest options usually connect renewable sources to existing lines.
The high penetration of renewable energy is having a significant impact on the state’s electricity prices.
Broader inflation plays a role in rising electricity prices, but the bulk of the increase comes from higher transmission and distribution charges. As Texas lawmakers look to rewrite the rules that govern how power generators make money, they must ensure that the system doesn’t penalize renewable generation for its reliability benefits by raising transmission costs.
Lower Fuel Costs
At a time when high energy prices are pushing electricity costs up across America, renewables offer a shield against these spikes. The savings come from the electricity generated by wind and solar not being purchased from fossil fuel power plants. Buying the renewables was cheaper than running existing coal or gas power plants.
Those lower fuel costs are significant because wholesale electricity generation only accounts for about a third of a ratepayer’s total bill, with transmission, distribution, and retailing costs making up the rest. That’s why it is so critical that state leaders do everything possible to encourage new renewable projects.
One of the best ways to do that is to ensure there are enough transmission lines to move electricity from the vast open areas where wind and solar power can be produced to the densely populated areas where it is needed. That requires significant investment, and transmission lines can take eight to 10 years to be built.
This year, legislators who rely on campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry are trying to derail those efforts. They’re proposing policies to funnel money to help gas-powered plants compete with clean energy, even though unsubsidized wind and solar are typically cheaper than building new fossil fuel power plants.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
Despite Texas’ longstanding association with fossil fuels, the state has committed significantly to renewable energy. This is a good move, as a diverse portfolio of energy sources provides energy security and reduces the state’s vulnerability to supply disruptions and fluctuating prices.
Moreover, green power provides many economic benefits for the state. Renewables create jobs, help communities revitalize, and contribute to a cleaner environment. Many renewable projects are located in rural areas, providing much-needed revenue to these communities.
Additionally, renewable energy can reduce air pollution linked to respiratory and cardiovascular problems. This is especially true for wind and solar projects, which emit fewer harmful pollutants than traditional fossil-fuel plants.
Renewable energy is also helping to stabilize electricity prices for consumers. This is because when electricity is produced from renewable sources, there’s no risk of sudden price spikes, as with coal and gas plants. Renewables are often the cheapest option for electricity producers during peak demand hours, lowering wholesale electricity rates for consumers.
But this is only the case in some countries. Some lawmakers are fighting to prop up fossil-fuel generation. Legislators have pushed bills offering companies low- or zero-interest loans to modernize existing plants and build new ones. They’ve also voted in favor of legislation raising electricity prices to give more money to plants that promise to supply power when the grid is stressed.