Voter approved fund for natural gas generators in Texas gets ‘overwhelming’ response

The Public Utility Commission of Texas received 125 applications for low-interest loans and grants for 56 gigawatts of new natural gas-fired generation, totaling $38.6 billion. The fund has enough for $5 billion.
Natural gas

A fund in Texas to support the building of natural gas-fired power plants received 125 applications for the development of 56 gigawatts of new generation. That's roughly the same amount of power that could be produced from more than 18,600 wind turbines.

In November, Texas voters – by a 65-to-35% margin – approved the creation of a fund to provide low-interest loans and grants for the building of new natural gas-fired power plants, and the Texas legislature allocated $5 billion to the fund. 

The deadline for applications to the Texas Energy Fund, which is managed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, was Friday, and the applications total $38.9 billion, according to the agency

“Since Winter Storm Uri in 2021, I have been abundantly clear that we must bring new dispatch-able generation (primarily new natural gas plants) to Texas to ensure we maintain reliable power under any circumstance,” Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement on the “overwhelming” response the program has received. 

Uri, in February 2021, sent temperatures across a wide swath of the U.S. into sub-zero temperatures. Texas experienced widespread blackouts, and 246 people died as a result of the cold

Energy analyst David Blackmon said since the storm, most of the added generation capacity in Texas has been from wind and solar, and the TEF leveled the playing field in terms of financing natural gas generation. 

“The strong response clearly demonstrates that, despite its reluctance to build new natural gas generation in Texas for more than a decade now, the power generation community understands the pressing need for more dispatchable capacity,” Blackmon wrote on his Substack.