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TCAP Current
Issue 39 | January 2018
The word "ERCOT" — short for the "Electric Reliability Council of Texas" — has multiple meanings, depending on usage. It can refer, for instance, to the geographical footprint of electric deregulation within Texas, as in "Dallas is located within ERCOT." But it also can refer more generally to the state’s wholesale power market ("a drop in the price of natural gas is driving ERCOT away from coal”) or more specifically to the Austin-based organization that operates banks of computers to manage the state’s primary power grid.

It’s context that’s key and TCAP, as always, is here to deliver it. So stay alert: each of these meanings in some way figures into this month’s newsletter.

Will Mexico Developments Undercut Authority over ERCOT?

ERCOT is an island unto itself — that is, unless the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission takes over. And it’s that at least remote possibility that has the state’s top utility regulator worried.

Federal Study Examines Electric Reliability, Natural Gas       

In 2011 a major cold front helped knock out several gas-fired plants in Texas. The result: rolling blackouts. But the connection between electric grid stability and natural gas isn’t one that’s unique to ERCOT. And grid operators who discount that connection do so at their peril.

Bank, Energy Traders Agree to Giant Penalty in California Market Manipulation Case

Barclays Bank and several former energy traders recently agreed to pay $105 million for allegedly manipulating the California power market. The settlement dwarfs anything ever assessed for alleged improprieties in the ERCOT market. But Texas regulators also lack some of the enforcement tools available to federal regulators.

Wind Power to Surpass Coal in Texas, Expert Predicts

With the expected retirement of several aging plants and the continued growth of wind power, the production of electricity within ERCOT from wind turbines may soon surpass that from coal.

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About TCAP

Want to find out more about the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power? Check out our website. You also can learn more about the state's deregulated electricity market by checking out the in-depth reports at TCAPTX.com.

Email TCAP policy analyst R.A. Dyer at rdyer@tcaptx.com for more details.

If you have any questions about this newsletter or have a news tip, feel free to contact TCAP policy analyst R.A. "Jake" Dyer. He can be reached by email at rdyer@tcaptx.com.


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