This executive summary comes from the five-page white paper titled in the headline and is authored by Himali Parmar and Rakesh Maurya with ICF International. For the full paper, register here: http://goo.gl/kato35
The authors cite these take-aways:
- Wind development in the Texas Panhandle continues to be strong despite low natural gas prices and a saturated market for renewable energy credits.
- Recommended transmission options to integrate Lubbock Power & Light into the ERCOT system reduce the risk of negative pricing for future wind development.
- ICF still expects additional transmission expansion in the Panhandle to support the surge in wind project demand.
Despite strong headwinds from record low natural-gas prices and a saturated renewable energy credit market, the Texas Panhandle continues to attract wind investments. Incentives in the form of federal production tax credits, along with some of the highest quality wind sites, have attracted investors to this region. With no local demand, these wind farms rely on transmission lines to export their supply to load centers. Since 2008,
ERCOT has proactively attempted to keep up with the interest in wind through the ambitious Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission expansion and more recently through the Panhandle Renewable Energy Zone (PREZ) assessments. Transmission options recommended by the PREZ analyses and approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas are expected to increase transmission access to the Panhandle wind.
Recent news that Lubbock Power & Light will integrate into the ERCOT system is also a positive development. LP&L provides much-needed local demand to the Panhandle wind, and the transmission reinforcements to integrate LP&L into ERCOT will further improve the Panhandle wind farm’s transmission access to the rest of ERCOT. Despite these positive developments, the Panhandle is projected to experience significant negative pricing unless additional transmission is built.