BILL ANALYSIS

 

 

Senate Research Center

S.B. 933

84R9488 GRM-F

By: Fraser

 

Natural Resources & Economic Development

 

3/10/2015

 

As Filed

 

 

 

AUTHOR'S / SPONSOR'S STATEMENT OF INTENT

 

The interconnection of new large direct current (DC) ties between the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) system and neighboring regional transmission organizations could have a significant impact on price formation, resource dispatch practices, reliability, the quantity and cost of ancillary services, and resource adequacy.

 

During times of system stress and high prices, ERCOT could use the DC ties as resources, importing power over the tie to alleviate strain on the system and moderate prices. When prices are low, exports over DC ties could provide broader markets for power producers in ERCOT.  The impacts of new large DC ties on consumers and producers are varied and must be formally assessed by the Public Utility Commission (PUC).

 

S.B. 933 authorizes PUC to review and assess whether interconnection transmission projects with DC ties are in the public interest.

 

As proposed, S.B. 933 amends current law relating to the authority of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to review transmission interconnections that enable imports or exports from the ERCOT power grid.

 

RULEMAKING AUTHORITY

 

Rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the Public Utility Commission of Texas in SECTION 1 (Section 37.051, Utilities Code) of this bill.

 

SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS

 

SECTION 1. Amends Section 37.051, Utilities Code, by adding Subsection (c-1), as follows:

 

(c-1) Prohibits an electric utility or municipally owned utility, notwithstanding any other provision of this title, from interconnecting a facility to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) transmission grid that enables additional power to be imported into or exported out of the ERCOT power grid unless the electric utility or municipally owned utility obtains a certificate from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) stating that public convenience and necessity requires or will require the interconnection. Requires PUC to apply Section 37.056 (Grant or Denial of Certificate) in considering an application under this subsection. Requires PUC, in addition to determine that the application is consistent with the public interest before granting the certificate. Authorizes PUC to adopt rules necessary to implement this subsection. Provides that this subsection does not apply to a facility that is in service on December 31, 2014.

 

SECTION 2. Effective date: September 1, 2015.