As CPS Energy marks the 75th anniversary as a municipal owned utility, President Paula Gold-Williams says the next few years will see unbelieveable changes in America's energy infrastructure, including a major growth in renewable resources, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
CPS Energy is the largest single generator of wind and solar energy in Texas, at about 20% of its total generation capacity, and Gold-Williams says when the key challenge to efficiency of renewables, namely workable batteries to store the energy when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, that figure will rapidly increase to 50% of more.
"We expect energy storage to really come to fruition," she said. "We expect renewables to be more effective."
CPS Energy essentially has four generating options, with natural gas expected to increase as the coal fired Dealy plant on Braunig Lake set to be taken out of service next year, and a new natural gas plant in western Guadalupe County to take its place.
But she says coal, while a smaller component of the utilities generation resources, will remain in CPS Energy's inventory.
"We use low emitting coal, we use ultra low sulfur coal, which has an extremely low emissions level, and we have environmental controls on the units," she said.
The fourth generation capacity is nuclear, with the South Texas Nuclear Project, which Gold-Williams says still has twenty years left in its current license. She says she doubts that nuclear will continue to expand, due the high costs of expanding nuclear projects, but she says the STNP, still in operation, will continue to be a generation option.
She says, with a fast growing electric utility, it is important to have a wide variety of generation sources to make sure the city and its customers are not dependent on one of two energy sources.
But Gold-Williams says renewables are definitely the wave of electricity's future.
"One way or another, the energy industry will have a storage solution, and many multiple storage solutions."
How about rates? Gold-Williams says CPS Energy has not raised rates in four years, and, while nobody wants to see higher power bills, she says there may be a rate increase on the way in 2018.