After February’s winter storm and blackouts, Texas lawmakers are discussing how they can strengthen the state’s energy grid. One proposal came from billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy. This company has a plan to build a network of backup energy in the form of natural gas plants. These plants will cost $8 billion and will operate as backup energy in case of an emergency.
Lobbyists for the company have been discussing the proposal with lawmakers since March. This plan would involve building 10 power plants across the state with a combined capacity of 10 gigawatts. The sites would be winterized to ensure they could operate under cold temperatures. They would also maintain a store of natural gas on site capable of delivering power for seven days. When an emergency occurs, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) would order the power plants to begin operating to produce backup energy.
The proposed name for the new company that would oversee this project is the Texas Emergency Power Reserve. “When you flip that switch and say, look, demand has exceeded supply, it has to come on in 10 minutes,” comments Berkshire Hathaway CEO Chris Brown. “That’s the Texas Emergency Power Reserve promise — that’s the promise that we’re making to the citizens of Texas.”
Consumers would pay the cost for the backup energy reserve. According to an estimate of charges, residential consumers would pay an additional $1.42 per month. Commercial customers would pay $9.61 and industrial customers would pay $58.94.