Texas PUC Establishes Rules for Competitive Renewable Energy Zones
The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) recently released rules describing how it will establish Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZs).
In Texas, CREZs are used for transmission planning purposes to designate suitable land that possesses a renewable resource. The rules provide details for the PUC’s December 1 vote that adopted a flexible, open approach to the CREZ designations. CREZs are instrumental to implementing SB20, the law that raised the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in Texas to 5,880 megawatts (MW) and set a goal of 10,000 MW for the state.
Wind energy industry members who participated in the PUC proceedings said that the new rules will expedite transmission expansion to windy areas but a key part of the process, identifying the CREZ locations, is still to come. The first CREZ case will allow the PUC to designate windy areas where transmission can be built in advance of wind development. The new rules also set timelines and hearing dates for the PUC to issue the certificate of convenience and necessity for transmission needed for the CREZs.
The PUC expects transmission companies to compete to build CREZ lines. Wind energy system companies have been competing for some of the action too. In October, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced that he had $10 billion in commitments from private companies to increase wind generating capacity in the state by 7,000 megawatts (MW). See the October 4 EERE State Activities and Partnerships article.