Texas institutions achieve 3 cent kWh price target for renewables

May 18, 2019

WACO, Texas: The Texas Renewable Energy Co-op (or TREC, rebranded and formerly Texas Power Pool), has confirmed receipt of multiple bids for wholesale electricity below the 3-cent per kWh target price on 12-year contracts. The most qualified supplier will be selected by the end of May.

Mike Bendewald, Managing Partner at Texas Energy Aggregation (TEA) stated, Subscribers to TREC can now leverage 100% renewable power from specific facilities and, depending on your location, for less than 3-cents. Bendewald believes many of these record-low prices could begin drying up before renewable energy tax credits begin to drop off in January. TEA was selected by Texas Comptroller's Statewide Procurement Division to facilitate this renewable purchasing solution sponsored by SECO, the State Energy Conservation Office.

De-risked renewable power
Bendewald emphasized how this offering creates more environmental impact than traditional green contracts which simply buy grid power balanced with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) at a cost premium. We have carefully designed a fully de-risked, wholesale renewable product. Bendewald added, Customers can continue to purchase their retail grid power in shorter increments, while benefitting from fixed-cost renewable power in longer terms for increased budget certainty. It satisfies both the environmental and budget concerns of tax payers.

Customer-driven process
Traditionally, the process starts with the retail energy provider, but TREC was designed by the end users. TEA President TJ Ermoian said, State agencies told us they wanted cleaner generation without extra cost. We worked with the guidance of SECO and the Comptroller's Office, meeting with State agencies and gathering the anchor subscribers. We then sought out financial backers for the best wind and solar projects to match the base load profile of the subscribers. The renewable portion will then be sleeved through multiple retail energy providers who compete to provide the balancing-load grid power for each customer in shorter terms. Dub Taylor, Director of SECO, said, Transparency and competition in energy purchasing is critically important to taxpayer supported entities. This purchasing offer establishes a new process and sets a new standard for competition and transparency in public sector power procurement.

Growing subscribers
More than 20 public entities in Texas have now signed Letters of Interest representing over 150 megawatts of minimum electricity load, including some of the largest cities, universities, hospitals and school districts in the state. The program is designed to drive down costs for all subscribers as new volume benchmarks are reached. If any entity has 7 years or less on their contract, they just need to get us a non-binding Letter of Interest soon. We will close this first aggregation in early July. Ermoian states that TEA already has smaller cities and school districts lining up their agendas and decision makers for a second aggregation later this year.

New access for other pools and consultants
In another significant development, via channel agreement energy consultants are able to use the TREC for their clients. Ermoian explains, Most of these entities utilizing consultants or purchasing programs are paid residually through the customer's electricity bill. We only request that fees are displayed on the customer's electricity contract. Taxpayers deserve more transparency than they have been getting from other offerings. Consultants and purchasing pools and programs should have no problem with divulging their fees, nor with customers sharing the rates they achieved for their customers. (PRN)

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