Texas State Senator José Rodríguez Discusses Solar Trends at TREIA Policy Luncheon

Renewable Energy can help assure Generation Adequacy - Texas State Senator José Rodríguez spoke at TREIA's June Policy Luncheon on the role renewable energy development can play in the Texas energy mix. He discussed net metering and the importance of delivering reliable energy to meet peak demand.

Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) welcomed Texas State Senator José Rodríguez, as the featured speaker at the TREIA's June Policy Luncheon. The luncheon, hosted at the Austin offices of Lloyd, Gosselink, Rochelle & Townsend, P.C., brought industry leaders together to hear Senator Rodríguez discuss progress in solar energy in El Paso and far West Texas, and to gain insights into the role the Legislature could play in encouraging renewable energy development throughout the state.

Senator Rodríguez pointed out that while the wind generation fleet in Texas now exceeds 10,000 megawatts of rated capacity, leading the nation by a huge margin, with fewer than 100 megawatts of solar energy generation our state is far behind several other states like New Mexico, and even New Jersey. As a result of wise legislation, wind power is contributing significantly to the avoidance of electricity brownouts and blackouts, but having sufficient generation available to meet the state's peak demand continues to be a challenge. More resources are needed, especially those that can deliver on peak.

A June 19 Brattle Group Report concluded that had the state had just 1,000 megawatts of solar energy electric generation on line during last summer's record peaking demand, Texas would have seen over $167 million in customer benefits, and 5,000 megawatts would have upped the savings to more than $520 million. In light of that potential, Senator Rodríguez's statement that Texas should strive to achieve the same leadership in solar and other renewables as it has in wind gains urgency.

The Senator told the audience he is committed to doing his part. As an example, during the 2011 Legislative Session he authored and passed Senate Bill 1910 bringing net metering to the El Paso Electric service territory and perhaps setting a precedent for other still regulated utility areas in Texas outside of ERCOT. Net metering allows homeowners who install solar panels or other clean energy systems on their property to be compensated for surplus electricity fed back to the grid; power which is used by other consumers. At the conclusion of his remarks, the Association presented Senator Rodríguez with a "State Leadership Award" in recognition of that accomplishment.

"It is clear from Senator Rodríguez's comments that he understands the important role renewable energy development must play in the Texas energy mix, that encouraging development legislatively is not a partisan issue, and that he is committed to continuing his effort with those points in mind," said Russel Smith, TREIA Executive Director. "Our members were particularly interested in his ideas about facilitating an income stream for schools through distributed renewable generation during the summer months."

"It is an honor to be recognized by such a well-respected organization," said Senator Rodríguez. "El Paso Electric solar customers are able to take advantage of net metering thanks in large part to advocacy efforts by members of TREIA. I look forward to working with TREIA during the next legislative session to address the need for renewable energy options throughout our state."

As a freshman legislator, Senator Rodríguez filed more than seventy pieces of legislation and passed forty-one. His hard work and tenacity on the Senate floor gained him numerous accolades, including being named "Freshman MVP" by the highly regarded online publication, Capitol Insider.

Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA) represents some 500 member companies, organizations, agencies and individuals providing products, services and information within Texas's growing renewable energy sector. Founded in 1984, TREIA is a key trade and advocacy organization headquartered in Austin, Texas. TREIA http://www.treia.org/ is the oldest renewable energy non-profit trade organization in Texas whose work promoting development of renewable resources and their wise use has spanned a quarter of a century.

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