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The Future of Demand Response in Texas (Webinar)

July 02, 2020





Download the slides from this webinar (PDF)

Bouncing Back From 2020 in Texas’s Resilient Energy Market

2020 … what a year we’ve had in ERCOT so far!  Oil and gas prices have dropped to near-record lows. COVID-19 has driven massive energy usage declines across the world while rebalancing load demand in ERCOT as many organizations shift to work-from-home environments.

Through it all, ERCOT has maintained a very tight reserve margin while adjusting its energy policy. But, as always, Texas’s energy market design has proven to be up to the challenge.

The question, however, for most commercial and industrial energy managers is “what does all this mean for my organization’s energy strategy now and in the future?”

The good news is CPower has kept its finger on the pulse of these important topics and is ready to help your organization better plan, prepare, and implement your energy strategy for success … so you don’t have to. 

Join us for this 60-minute webinar to learn:

  • The changes and updates in the ERCOT energy market
  • Energy programs in ERCOT that deliver revenue to help offset costs (or losses)
  • A deep-dive into ERCOT’s Load Resource (LR) and Emergency Response Services (ERS) demand response programs
  • The changes and opportunities on the horizon for energy consumers in Texas

Led by Mike Hourihan, Director of Market Development in the ERCOT market, and Joe Hayden, General Manager, ERCOT with CPower. The webinar will also have a live Q&A session to answer all of your demand-side energy management questions. 

Why the Demand Response Events in August 2019 Affirm Texas’s Market Design

April 20, 2020

It was hot in Texas on August 13 last year. Real hot. Nolan-Ryan-fastball-under-your-chin-hot. Roasting-armadillos-on-the-driveway-hot. Electric demand across the state predictably spiked. Voluntary (i.e. non-incentivized) calls to curtail issued by ERCOT went largely unanswered. (Would you volunteer to shut your A/C off when it’s 103 ̊ F?)

Then, at 3:10 pm ERCOT dispatched its first wave of demand response. The event lasted less than two hours. Balance was restored to the grid. All was well. So what makes Texas’s market superior (at least in the mind of Texans) to other regions that feature capacity markets? Two reasons:

  1. By not having to bolster a capacity market, Texan ratepayers don’t have the inflated electricity bills lamented by consumers hailing from markets that procure more capacity than needed.
  2. By having an economic trigger whereby the wholesale price of electricity in times of scarcity surges to $9,000/MWh, Texas provides an irresistible incentive for organizations to help the grid in times of need.

In short, the Texas energy market is driven by economics not regulation. 

As a result, the market’s demand response resources are robust. Why shouldn’t they be? Event calls are few and far between and participants are cashing in when called upon by the grid.

 Exactly the opposite is happening in California, where participants who are already paying high electricity rates are fatigued from the number of demand response calls they’ve received over the years. They’re not being rewarded much for their curtailed megawatts, either. Capacity prices in the Golden State dipped below the national average years ago and have been stuck there ever since. 

The economic-driven design of the Texas energy market doesn’t just incentivize emergency capacity in times of need. When it comes to integrating distributed energy resources (DERs) onto its grid, economics are leading the way in the Lone Star State.


This post was excerpted from the 2020 State of Demand-Side Energy Management in North America, a market-by-market analysis of the issues and trends the experts at CPower feel organizations like yours need to know to make better decisions about your energy use and spend.

CPower has taken the pain out of painstaking detail, leaving a comprehensive but easy-to-understand bed of insights and ideas to help you make sense of demand-side energy’s quickly-evolving landscape.

Download Your Copy

ERCOT Establishes the Covid-19 Electricity Relief Program – Market Minute (Video)

April 16, 2020




On March 26, 2020, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) established the COVID-19 Electricity Relief Program, providing eligible residential ratepayers in the state with a temporary exemption from disconnections due to non-payment of electricity bills. 

According to the PUCT’s draft of the Order, the program is to be funded by a rider implemented by Transmission and Distribution Utilities (TDUs).

The rider will collect funds to be utilized to reimburse TDUs and REPs for unpaid bills from eligible residential customers experiencing unemployment due to the impacts of COVID-19 and to ensure continuity of electric service for those residential customers. 

All customer classes are obligated to pay this charge. The initial rider will be based on $0.33 per megawatt-hour (MWh). 

The rider will have an immediate effective date upon being implemented by the TDU. 

It’s not known at this time how long the charge will exist. In its Order, the PUCT has reserved the right to supplement and/or modify the relief program by a subsequent order.

This is something we’re monitoring closely, so check back with The Current or sign up to learn more as it happens. 

ERCOT: ERS program criteria to remain in 2020 – Market Minute (Video)

 



In a recent letter to Qualified Scheduling Entities in Texas, ERCOT asserted that while the grid operator is sensitive to the distress organizations are feeling due to the current pandemic, ERCOT does NOT have the authority to alter the criteria applicable to Emergency Response Service (ERS) resources currently under contract.

If your organization is currently participating in the ERS program in 2020, you will be contractually obligated to perform under the program’s established criteria. 

Some organizations in Texas are asking what happens if they can’t perform DR due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

ERCOT has stated that it DOES have the discretion to “consider mitigating factors, including Force Majeure Events, that may have impacted ERS event performance or availability when determining whether to suspend a QSE or ERS Resource that fails to meet performance or availability criteria.”

ERS participants who think they may be unable to adequately provide ERS resources as contracted should contact their Curtailment Service Provider to discuss their situation.

If you have any questions about this or any other Texas related energy question, contact CPower and we’ll help you in any way we can.

2020 State of Demand-Side Energy Management in North America

March 25, 2020
Last year, nearly 2000 organizations nationwide downloaded the State of Demand-Side Energy Management in North America book by CPower’s energy experts.
This year, we pick up where we left off with a market-by-market analysis of the issues, trends, and regulations organizations like yours should understand in 2020 to make better decisions about your energy use and spend.

ERCOT’s Protocol for Dispatching Demand-Side Resources

March 24, 2020

As the state’s grid operator, ERCOT maintains a sophisticated system of levers and triggers that dispatch increasingly potent demand-side resources designed to help maintain balance when the demand for electricity outpaces the grid’s ability to supply it. 

Understanding ERCOT’s system provides a context to help understand not only how demand-side resources are used in Texas, but also which of the demand response programs might be best for a given organization. 

ERCOT’s arsenal for grid defense

When the grid is stressed, ERCOT takes the following steps to avoid blackouts across the state:

Real Time Pricing–this relies on basic economics to deter electricity consumption. As demand rises and approaches the reserve margin, prices start to rise. Large consumers monitor the real time price and determine it’s more economically sound to stop consuming (and producing in the commercial sector) given the escalating electricity prices.

If demand continues to rise…

4CP–At any given point, there are about 1,500 MW of “peak-chasing” load that can be curtailed by a collection of consumers seeking to lower their 4CP charges the following year. Typically, this load will come off the grid between 3-6pm during the hottest days of the year. 

 If demand continues to rise…

Utility Demand Response Programs–Utilities (Oncor, CenterPoint, et al.) have roughly 200 MW that can be called for a three-hour dispatch. 

 If demand continues to rise…

Voluntary Curtailments–when demand infringes the 3,000 MW mark of the reserve margin, ERCOT issues a series of public address announcements urging consumers to voluntarily shed their load.

 If demand continues to rise…

Energy Emergency Alert 1 (EEA1)–ERS 30 demand response resources are called. 

 If demand continues to rise…

Energy Emergency Alert 2 (EEA2)–ERS 30, ERS 10, and Load Resources are called. 

 If demand continues to rise…

Rolling blackouts–ERCOT will instruct utilities to rotate power outages in an effort to avoid statewide blackouts.


This post was excerpted from the 2020 State of Demand-Side Energy Management in North America, a market-by-market analysis of the issues and trends the experts at CPower feel organizations like yours need to know to make better decisions about your energy use and spend.

CPower has taken the pain out of painstaking detail, leaving a comprehensive but easy-to-understand bed of insights and ideas to help you make sense of demand-side energy’s quickly-evolving landscape.

Download Your Copy

SOTM 2019 Webinar Series

August 08, 2019
60 minutes with CPower Experts. Energy Insights to Plan Your Year. At CPower, we know that running your organization’s…