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December 10, 2013
Brattle Report on the Future of Gas and Renewable Power in Texas Cited in SNL Article

A Brattle report on the future of gas and renewable power in Texas was cited in a recent SNL article. The Brattle report, “Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT Part II: Future Generation Scenarios for Texas,” used a state-of-the-art modeling system to simulate the ERCOT power system through 2032 under six scenarios. The report finds that the system is very likely to combine substantial amounts of both renewable energy and gas-fired power in the coming two decades because of the economic and environmental attractiveness of these electricity sources, the strong Texas resource base, and the evolution of power markets and systems.

The report serves as a follow up to a June 2013 white paper exploring the short- and long-run interaction between natural gas and renewables in Texas’ energy future. The article points out the authors’ findings that, among other things, over the next two decades in Texas:

  • Without "continued or enhanced" policy support natural gas would be the primary addition of choice in ERCOT through 2032. Further, if gas prices remain low and existing wind plants retire, the share of renewables could decline "slightly." However, across the more likely cases analyzed, researchers found a high probability that the share of renewables on the grid in Texas will jump over the next 20 years.

  • Renewables increase most significantly in the "stronger federal carbon rule" scenario, which found that a 15% decline in renewable energy capital costs by 2025 and a mandated 90% carbon reduction from coal units by the same year could push renewable energy to 43% of all ERCOT generating capacity by 2032.

The report was prepared on behalf of the Texas Clean Energy Coalition with funding by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. It was authored by Brattle principals Ira Shavel, Jürgen Weiss, and Peter Fox-Penner, senior associate Pablo Ruiz, associate Yingxia Yang, consultant Rebecca Carroll, and research analyst Jake Zahniser-Word. The report is available for download below.