Council to vote on shutting down Spruce 1 Power Plant and converting Spruce 2 to Natural Gas
CPS’s proposed diversification of power sources is expensive and poorly timed. With the potential for a global recession, concerns still fresh from 2021 Winter Storm Uri, and without an alternative source already tested and online, the timing could not be worse to consider shuttering one of San Antonio’s primary sources of power. The CPS Utility is still wrapped up in legal cases surrounding the $360 million in bills for the natural gas purchased at an elevated rate during 2021 Uri, and posts more than $200 million in unpaid late bills from customers. This current timeline of the plan could lead to reliability and affordability issues for San Antonio citizens.
The proposal to shutter Spruce 1 without a viable alternative in place poses the greatest immediate risk to San Antonio’s citizens. This is a case of putting the cart before the horse. While power companies continue to invest in wind and solar technologies, and explore other renewables, our most recent experience with these sources of power in 2021 is enough to confirm they’re not ready for prime time. Fact: in 2021 Winter Storm Uri, Natural Gas, Wind, and Solar were not enough to keep the power on in San Antonio. What has changed since then? Not enough to warrant closing the plant on a tight timeline while we keep our fingers crossed for new technologies.
We are still faced with unpredictable changes in the market during times of crises, where prices can suddenly skyrocket on natural gas. Like during Winter Storm Uri, in times of need, costs from purchasing additional power on the market would eventually be passed along to the customers. We also know that wind and solar alone are not enough to meet the power demands of San Antonio citizens. The costs of converting Spruce 2 to natural gas, and purchasing additional gas on the market during times of need will be passed along directly to consumers, with no guarantees these costs will keep the power on. This is risky.
ERCOT cites February, July, and August as the most likely times for market volatility surrounding power. Do we really want to experiment with losing AC and Heat on rotating blackouts, or pay an exorbitant price each time it’s hot or cold outside? Tell your Council Member to leave the lights on and vote NO on the timeline of CPS’s proposal.