ERCOT Board re-elects chair and vice chair, sets strategic tone for 2013
Crowell and Walsh both began serving as unaffiliated board members in 2011 and were elected to their current posts in January 2012.
Crowell’s extensive public service background includes eight years as chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority and four years as chief of staff to the chairman of the U.S. Senate budget committee. He also has chaired the Texas Reliability Entity and the Electric Power Research Institute and served on the board of the Nuclear Energy Institute.
Walsh, most recently a senior vice president for SBC Communications, has a background in banking, including 30 years at Deloitte before retiring as a partner. She is a former commissioner for the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). She currently serves on the boards of the Midwest Independent System Operator and Western Electricity Coordinating Council and has chaired the audit committees for both entities.
Following elections, Crowell set the tone for the year ahead, tasking the board not only to renew corporate oversight efforts in 2013 but also to focus on the strategic direction of ERCOT.
"While we look to the management team to execute on the issues confronting ERCOT on a daily basis, board members are most effective when we continue to look just over the horizon at the challenges facing us in the years ahead," he said.
As resource adequacy continues to top the board’s priority list this year, Crowell also noted, "I urge all of us as board members to support the PUC’s efforts, and to bring our best and most creative thinking to the resolution of the resource adequacy challenge facing us."
Acknowledging the 2013 scheduled completion of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission projects that the PUC identified in 2008, Crowell said, "As CREZ moves from a map on the wall to reality on the ground, we should be prepared to assist ERCOT staff, and the companies involved, as the projects move into operations."
New chairs were named to two board committees: Jorge Bermudez is chair of the board’s Finance and Audit Committee, and Karl Pfirrmann is chair of the Human Resources and Governance Committee. The board also re-elected Chief Executive Officer Trip Doggett and ratified ERCOT officers during the meeting.
"I’m pleased that, as we face the challenges ahead, we do so with ERCOT leaders who are experienced, and who are just as committed as we are to the long-term success of ERCOT and its critical mission," Crowell said.
Other January board meeting updates
Chief Executive Officer Report
ERCOT CEO Trip Doggett provided updates, which included:
- ERCOT ended 2012 with a $3.7 million favorable balance, which included a $5.1 million carry-forward due to record energy sales in 2011. As of Jan. 1, 2013, ERCOT also had recovered all the costs associated with implementation of the nodal market and had discontinued collection of a 37.5-cent-per-megawatt-hour (MWh) fee designed for that purpose.
- A new wind power record of 8,638 MW occurred on the afternoon of Dec. 25, when a cold front brought high winds to much of the state.
- Results of a loss-of-load probability study went to the Generation Adequacy Task Force on Jan. 18. Study results and the stakeholder recommendations that follow will help inform future board decisions regarding ERCOT’s target reserve margin (currently set at 13.75 percent) and the percentage of wind power capacity that ERCOT considers reliable for resource planning purposes (known as effective load-carrying capability, or ELCC, and currently counted as 8.7 percent). Because wind power facilities in Coastal areas and in other parts of the state perform differently, stakeholders also will consider using a different rating for Coastal wind and wind power facilities in other regions.
- The Sunset Advisory Commission voted on recommendations related to ERCOT and the PUC following its additional PUC review.
- The recent Annual Baseline Assessment of Choice in Canada and the United States ranked Texas #1 among competitive residential and commercial/industrial electric market for the sixth consecutive year.
Independent Market Monitor (IMM) Report
In addition to the IMM’s regular monthly update on electric prices, energy use, heat rate, congestion costs, ancillary services procurement and wind production, Beth Garza of Potomac Economics presented the IMM’s recommendations for near-term market initiatives.
Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) recommendations
On consent, the ERCOT board approved two Nodal Protocol Revision Requests (NPRRs), one Planning Guide Revision Request (PGRR), and continuation of the $0.010 minimum point-to-point option bid price. PGRR018 defines requirements for generation facilities to be included in ERCOT’s transmission planning models, which are used to identify constraints and the need for new transmission projects.
In a separate action, the board approved a revised effective date and settlement implementation process for NPRR 461, which was approved by the board in December. This protocol revision relates to the settlement of ancillary services received from energy storage facilities. The first such facility began commercial operations this month.
Kenan Ogelman, of CPS Energy, will continue to serve as chair of the Technical Advisory Committee, and Randa Stephenson, of Lone Star Transmission, is the new TAC vice chair. Both were elected by their fellow TAC members and confirmed by the ERCOT board.