Texas State Capitol
Texas State Capitol Building.

The Texas legislature this week passed an amendment effective Sept. 1 that affirms municipally-owned utilities (MOU) and electric cooperatives don’t have to register as power generators if they own energy storage facilities.

The previous version’s language defined service providers as generators if they owned energy storage.

The new version changes that language to the following:

“Subsection does not require a municipally owned utility or an electric cooperative that owns or operates electric energy storage equipment or facilities described by Subsection (a) to register as a power generation company  under 39.351.”

The number 39.351 refers to the specific section of Texas utility code that defines an energy generator.

The change, which takes effect on Sept. 1, affects the state’s 56 municipally-owned utilities and electric cooperatives.

Amendment Helps MOU’s and Cooperatives Avoid Red Tape

The amendment is seen as a win for MOU’s and cooperatives who don’t generate energy but store it. Because they don’t have to register with the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), they are not subject to subsequent regulations that registration entails.

This affirmation of their operation outside of the PUC’s purview allows MOU’s and cooperatives to do business as usual, energy officials say.

Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) is a good example of this amendment’s implications. The company signed a deal with Aggreko to implement PEC’s first energy storage facility, a 2.25 GW project located in Johnson City, Texas. That deal will not be subject to the PUC.

“Managed by Aggreko’s intelligent software and integrated with the company’s power electronics, the batteries will provide grid services to the Texas Grid operator ERCOT,” Aggreko said in a statement. “The system will also provide solar shifting from a nearby solar farm within the PEC service territory.”

Energy Pages reached to PEC for comment about the amendment but did not hear back at press time.

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