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Power demand in Texas hit another all-time high this summer and will likely keep breaking that record all week as the result of a lingering heatwave, putting strain on the state’s power grid.

Hart Energy July 2022 - Energy Policy Watch - State of Energy Storage in Texas - PUC Commissioner Jimmy Glotfelty headshot
PUC Commissioner Jimmy Glotfelty

Jimmy Glotfelty, who serves as a commissioner on the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas, recently joined Cornerstone’s Jack Belcher on the latest installment of Energy Policy Watch to discuss efforts by the PUC regarding wholesale electric market design and strengthening the reliability of the state’s grid.

He also discussed the current state of energy storage in Texas and the barriers of increasing energy storage in the Lone Star State. “We have a little over 1,000 megawatts of battery storage in Texas. In other parts of the world, they think of other things as storage,” Glotfelty said using pumped hydro-storage in mountainous regions as an example.

The “cream of the crop” for energy storage in Texas, however, is batteries—both small batteries and large batteries, he said, noting that they could play a critical role in addressing intermittency issues from renewable power sources.

“The prices are coming down dramatically,” he added of batteries. “The integration of them at the transmission and distribution level is happening. They are playing in different markets that ERCOT has set up and, I think, their role is going to continue to grow especially as the solar production grows in our state.”

Glotfelty was appointed to the PUC of Texas by Gov. Greg Abbott on Aug. 6, 2021. Before his appointment, he served as founder and executive vice president of Clean Line Energy and has also worked in various executive and managerial roles at Calpine Corp, ICF Consulting and Quanta Services. His public sector experience includes serving as senior policy adviser to U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, energy policy director to Texas Gov. George W. Bush and legislative director to Congressman Sam Johnson.

His appointment also followed Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, which left millions of Texas without power for days as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) scrambled to prevent a grid collapse.

“There has been a lot of learning that has gone on since then,” Glotfelty said of the Winter Storm Uri disaster.

“Between the Railroad Commission, the Public Utility Commission, the legislature and the governor, we have identified the issues and we are systematically tackling them,” he said adding that he expects them to be done by December.

In addition to addressing grid reliability with “distributed resources,” Glotfelty also spoke on the impact of electric vehicles (EVs) on the grid, addressing cybersecurity and the recent Supreme Court ruling limiting the EPA. See below for more on this dynamic discussion between Glotfelty and Cornerstone’s Jack Belcher on the latest installment of Energy Policy Watch.

Jump to a topic:

  • 1:45 — Appointment to PUC of Texas
  • 3:00 — 2021 blackout causes / solutions
  • 4:35 — ERCOT, PUC and grid design
  • 6:15 — Capacity markets
  • 7:25 — Was natural gas an issue?
  • 8:45 — Addressing intermittency issues
  • 10:05 — Demand response in ERCOT
  • 11:40 — State of energy storage
  • 13:30 — Impact of EVs on the grid
  • 14:50 — Power system complexity grows
  • 15:45 — Addressing cybersecurity
  • 17:10 — Cybersecurity threats
  • 18:00 — Supreme Court ruling on EPA
  • 19:51 — Lessons learned
  • 21:05 — Technology advancements

Energy Policy Watch is a partnership between Hart Energy and Cornerstone to bring regular video updates on legislative and regulatory actions affecting the energy industry. Guests range from key representatives or congressional staff to relevant cabinet-level officials and executive branch personnel. View More Energy Policy Watch Episodes Here.