Different Outcomes in State’s Two Distinct Markets
Marc Miller is a partner with ScottMadden. Marc leads ScottMadden’s public power and electric cooperatives practice, and his clients have ranged from Fortune 500 companies to government-owned utilities. Marc has more than fifteen years of experience assisting business leaders with strategic and business planning, operational improvement, organizational design and staffing, and other management practices.
Bob Gibson is vice president of knowledge with the Smart Electric Power Alliance. Prior to this role, Bob was a senior manager, leading analysis of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and business models, for the Cooperative Research Network of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
In Texas, the vast majority of solar growth has occurred in the service territories of municipal and cooperative utilities. However, the larger competitive wholesale market with retail choice has only seen modest growth.
In November 2015, we joined with the Smart Electric Power Alliance in hosting senior energy executives on a fact-finding mission to Texas. The objective of the trip was to understand the role of solar in a state with such unique market dynamics.
What the group found is municipal and cooperative utilities innovating to develop distributed and utility solar offerings.
Solar has been limited in competitive markets, though retailers are finding creative ways to offer solar products. Customers in all Texas markets will benefit from the expected boom of utility solar in the Texas oil patch.
Two Distinct Solar Market Structures
In 1995, Texas passed legislation requiring wholesale market deregulation. The reform required electric utilities to provide unbundled transmission service on a non-discriminatory basis. It resulted in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas becoming the country’s first independent system operator.