(TheIndependentStar.com) – In a decisive outcome for the American energy sector, Texas residents voted to pass Proposition 7, establishing a state-controlled energy fund geared towards enhancing the infrastructure of natural gas power plants.
Garnering 65% approval from over 2.5 million votes, the proposition authorizes the allocation of $5 billion in low-interest loans to foster new and upgraded dispatchable power generation across the state. While backed by the energy sector, the ballot initiative faced expected opposition from environmentalists.
Todd Staples, the president of the Texas Oil & Gas Association, expressed satisfaction with the voters’ endorsement of infrastructure development, including electricity, through the approval of the proposition.
“By voting to approve these propositions, Texans are ensuring that the Lone Star State continues to be the best place to live, work, play and raise a family,” Staples remarked. He emphasized that Proposition 7 is pivotal for bolstering grid reliability and promoting the expansion of electric supply.
This vote finalizes the enactment of Senate Bill 2627, which was signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott in July. The legislation stipulates that loans from the Texas Energy Fund must span 20 years with a 3% interest rate, targeting both the enhancement of existing power plants capable of an additional 100 megawatts (MW) and the establishment of new ones with at least 100 MW capacity. Such a plant can supply electricity to tens of thousands of homes.
The motivation behind these incentives for natural gas power generation stems from concerns over the sufficiency of Texas’ energy generation, especially during peak emergency periods.
Despite the state’s population swelling by 24% from 2008 to 2020, dispatchable power supply only increased by a marginal 1.5%. This discrepancy raises alarms, particularly considering Texas’ dependence on renewable sources like wind and solar, which are non-dispatchable and contingent on weather conditions.
Pablo Vegas, the president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, earlier underscored the critical need for reforms to encourage the development of dispatchable power sources.
While Texas leads in wind power production, generating a quarter of the nation’s wind electricity, natural gas remains the predominant energy source for the state.