AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texans voted on a proposition that would create funding to increase “reliability” for Texas’ electric grid in the Nov. 7 constitutional amendment election.
The Associated Press projected Texas Proposition 7, which originated from S.J.R. 93, would pass. The proposition would create the Texas Energy Fund, which would support and finance the “construction, maintenance, and modernization of electric generating facilities.”
Proposition 7 comes after power grid challenges experienced most notably during winter storms in the past years.
Pablo Vegas, president and CEO of ERCOT, emphasized the grid has become more “volatile” given the current resources.
“The complexities of managing a growing demand, and a very dynamic load environment with those types of resources becomes more and more challenging,” Vegas said Tuesday during a meeting of the ERCOT board of directors.
Vegas said one solution to overcome the challenge is investing in power production that is available on demand, like power plants fueled by natural gas. Those plants can help during times when the need for electricity strains the supply.
“With the passing of Proposition 7 on the ballot this November, we’ll see those incentives combined to incentivize a more balanced development strategy going forward,” Vegas told board members.
Proposition 7 will enact S.B. 2627, which establishes an advisory committee to oversee the fund and the various projects it could be used for. $5 billion would be transferred from the General Revenue Fund to the Texas Energy Fund if Proposition 7 passes.
Opposition to Proposition 7 comes from the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club, an environmental organization based in Austin. Cyrus Reed, conservation director of the Lone Star chapter, said the Texas energy fund is slated to benefit private utilities to build gas plants using taxpayer’s money.
“That fundamentally is putting a risk on taxpayers,” Reed said. “What happens if one of these plants gets built and then doesn’t make enough money?”
Reed emphasized that there are better alternatives than Proposition 7 to better the current energy system.
“We were big advocates for increasing the amount of money spent on energy efficiency and demand response programs,” Reed said. “Programs that actually help consumers save energy in their homes, apartments or businesses.”
Texans voted on various constitutional amendments, such as Proposition 7, in the Nov. 7 constitutional amendment election.