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Texas leads 19-state coalition challenging green energy transition mandate

The states filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to a rule it passed to advance unprecedented federal control over the US electric grid.

Currently, state regulatory bodies determine the most efficient mix of energy sources for their states.

FERC’s new rule appears to be an unfunded mandate, requiring states to implement “green energy” electricity generation and cover the costs to transition to it.

Texas, which maintains its own electric grid, filed the complaint, leading a 19-state coalition.

It argues FERC’s rule exceeds its authority, is arbitrary and capricious and creates an “unjust, unreasonable, and/or unduly discriminatory rates” that violate the Federal Power Act.

The rule is “not supported by reasoned decision-making or explanation and runs counter to the evidence,” the 48-page brief states.

FERC issued the rule “attempting to do indirectly what it cannot do directly: usurp the States’ exclusive authority over generation choices by adopting planning rules designed to benefit remote renewable generation and renewable developers, and shift billions or trillions of dollars in transmission costs from those developers onto electric consumers,” the coalition argues.

The coalition includes Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah.

At issue is the FERC’s May 13, 2024, Order No. 1920, which states, “there is substantial evidence to support the conclusion that the existing regional transmission planning and cost allocation processes are unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory or preferential because the Commission’s existing transmission planning and cost allocation requirements do not require transmission providers to: (1) perform a sufficiently long-term assessment of transmission needs that identifies Long-Term Transmission Needs; (2) adequately account on a forward looking basis for known determinants of Long-Term Transmission Needs; and (3) consider the broader set of benefits of regional transmission facilities planned to meet those Long-Term Transmission Needs.”

The order requires states to cover the costs of transitioning regional transmission lines to support “green energy” generation even when doing so doesn’t support the state’s energy needs and would decrease grid efficiency and reliability, the coalition argues.

In Texas, for example, the regulatory body overseeing the state’s grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), has repeatedly pointed out that wind and solar power cannot meet energy demands but natural gas does.

As temperatures hovered for months at 120 degrees last year, ERCOT issued voluntary conservation appeals while also publishing data showing that low wind generation could not provide a sufficient energy supply.

Texas is the world’s fifth largest generator of wind power and leads the US in generating wind energy.

As temperatures hovered for months at 120 degrees last year, ERCOT issued voluntary conservation appeals while also publishing data showing that low wind generation could not provide a sufficient energy supply.

Recognizing the need for reliable non-intermittent energy sources, the Texas legislature, and the majority of voters, approved a plan to invest $5 billion in constructing mostly natural gas infrastructure to expand Texas’ energy grid reliability.

The new program has received an “overwhelming response,” state officials said.

By contrast, zero bids were received in Texas in response to federal offshore auctions for roughly 200,000 acres of wind energy leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite this, the Biden administration is again attempting to auction a second round of offshore wind leases in the Gulf.

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