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Trace: at MMR_Render.Press_Release.Page_Load(Object sender, EventArgs e) Villarreal Leads Push for Renewable Energy Grid - News from Mike - Representative Mike Villarreal - District 123 San Antonio

Villarreal Leads Push for Renewable Energy Grid

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Constituents and Legislators Join in Urging PUC to Maximize Transmission Lines

Austin – Today Representative Mike Villarreal is delivering to the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) a letter from 15 state legislators and a petition from 1,781 ordinary Texans calling for a package of transmission lines that maximizes the capacity to carry renewable energy from west Texas to the state's population centers.

The PUC is preparing to select a Competitive Renewable Energy Zone that will lay the groundwork for renewable energy development in the state for years to come. The letter and the petition urge the PUC to select the most aggressive option, known as Scenario 3.

"Our energy crisis requires a bold response, not half-measures. Texas was a world leader in oil and gas in the 20th Century. The decisions we make now will determine if Texas is a leader in wind and solar energy in the 21st Century,” noted Rep. Villarreal.  “The pay off of this investment will be cleaner air, new jobs, and lower long-term energy bills for hard-working families.”

The petition was posted on Rep. Villarreal's website,, for 48 hours before delivery to the PUC.

The text of the letter from the 15 state legislators is available below:


June 26, 2008


Commissioner Barry Smitherman

Commissioner Paul Hudson

Commissioner Julie Parsley

Public Utility Commission of Texas

1701 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78711


Dear Commissioners,


We urge the Public Utility Commission to support renewable energy use to the fullest extent possible by selecting and expediting deployment of Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) Scenario #3. This bold option will put the transmission lines in place to bring a substantial amount of wind energy - and eventually solar energy - to our major cities.  This is the future of energy in Texas, and it is far cheaper to build a transmission grid of adequate size once than to add additional capacity later. By building the necessary infrastructure now, we can expedite the process of improving air quality, reducing global warming, preparing for expected federal regulations, creating new jobs and industries, and putting money back into the pockets of Texas families through an overall reduction in long-term energy expenditures. 


Aggressive development of transmission lines would provide an opportunity to substantially reduce emissions that undermine human health and contribute to global warming.  According to the 2008 ERCOT Ancillary Services Study, an analysis by GE shows that installing 15,000 megawatts of wind on the ERCOT system this year would reduce NOx emissions by 12 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent.  Extrapolating these results suggests that Scenario 3, with 24,859 megawatts, could result in a 20 percent reduction in NOx and 25 percent reduction in CO2.  It will take years to develop the wind power to reach those levels, but we must invest in the necessary transmission lines in order to eventually seize this clean air opportunity.


Investing in adequate infrastructure now is also important for preparing for future constraints and demands on our state's energy system.  While Congress is debating the best approach to emission reductions, it is clear that the federal government will soon place a limit on carbon dioxide emissions. As the national leader in carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, Texas will face an even greater challenge in transforming our economy and energy production to meet new federal requirements if we do not begin to develop the infrastructure now. Furthermore, as plug-in hybrids and other electric vehicles reach the market, there will be ever greater demand for renewable energy to power these vehicles.  Given the dramatic increase in the cost of gasoline, and GM and Toyota's recently announced plans to have plug-in hybrids for sale by late 2010, it will be critical to have adequate transmission to deliver west Texas wind energy to growing electric transportation markets.


Scenario 3 is also the best economic options for Texas families, without even factoring in the substantial environmental and societal benefits.  ERCOT conservatively projects that an investment of $6 billion for a 50-year transmission grid would reduce power prices by more than $3 billion a year. This investment delivers a far better return than the vast majority of Texans are able to receive on their savings accounts.  Additionally, the wind energy industry has already created thousands of new jobs, and many more will follow if the infrastructure is in place to support the industry.


We believe adoption of an aggressive CREZ plan is a great strategy for reducing costs, creating jobs and lowering pollution. We urge you to make the kind of bold policy decisions that your predecessors made to help turn Texas into an energy leader for many years. 


Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.




Michael U. Villarreal                                Rodney Ellis                      

State Representative                              State Senator

District 123                                           Senate District 13

David Swinford                                     Pete P. Gallego

State Representative                              State Representative

District 87                                            District 74


David McQuade Leibowitz                        Dawnna Dukes                           

State Representative                              State Representative

District 117                                           District 46


Ana E. Hernandez                                  Ruth Jones McClendon

State Representative                              State Representative

District 143                                           District 120


Elliott Naishtat                                      Rafael Anchia

State Representative                              State Representative

District 49                                            District 103


Lon Burnam                                          Eddie Rodriguez

State Representative                              State Representative

District 90                                            District 51


Joaquin Castro                                      José Menéndez

State Representative                              State Representative

District 125                                           District 124


Eddie Lucio III

State Representative

District 38