Mystery of free energy storage apparently solved by Texas retailer offering 100-percent wind power deal

Michael Giberson

From the PR desk:

HOUSTON, Sept. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Direct Energy has launched New Leaf Energy, a new Texas brand that offers 100 percent renewable, air-pollution-free energy, 100 percent from Texas wind turbines. New Leaf Energy brings expanded product choice in Texas’ green energy market and a variety of plan options that ease the way for residential customers in Greater Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Corpus Christi and beyond to help support long-term sustainability of the region and the planet.

“New Leaf Energy is committed to renewing the future, one household at a time,” said Rob Comstock, senior vice president at Direct Energy and general manager for the company’s Texas residential business. “It meets one of the industry’s highest standards by sourcing only 100 percent Green-e® Certified renewable wind energy, at rates designed to make renewable energy easily accessible for consumers. By choosing New Leaf Energy, they are making a statement to electricity producers that they support and prefer electricity provided by renewable sources. As more people sign up with New Leaf Energy, more renewable energy is produced.”

Consumers signing up for this product are promised their power is sourced only from “100 percent Green-e® Certified renewable wind energy,” and what’s more that power is “100 percent from Texas wind turbines.”

I don’t see any asterisks tagged on to these claims where they explain – hey, the wind doesn’t blow all of the time, the sun doesn’t shine all of the time, and there is hardly any hydropower in Texas even in years without a drought, so once in a while we will supplement your power supplies with a mix of coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy and then we will buy extra wind power sometime later. Nope, in the press release and on the company website the claims are “all renewable, all of the time.”

Therefore, officially, I am amazed. Since Direct Energy doesn’t plan to cut off its “100 percent Texas wind” consumers when Texas wind power production drops off, I can only conclude that the company has solved the complex technical issues surrounding energy storage.

SOMEWHAT RELATED: “Renewable Incentives Spark Debate at Texas Hearing” from the invaluable Texas Tribune.

ADDED: In case you’re wondering, there are not a lot of ski lifts in Texas either.

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3 thoughts on “Mystery of free energy storage apparently solved by Texas retailer offering 100-percent wind power deal

  1. Is this utility perchance able to play games with labeling? Perhaps they’re simply selling/trading excess power at peak generation, only to buy it ‘back’ when the wind slacks. Would be quite difficult to honestly say that’s 100% wind, but it seems a simpler explanation than solving the energy storage problem.

  2. You are more or less right, Paul, although the explanation is probably even simpler. The company likely plans to buy enough Renewable Energy Credits in the Texas REC market to cover the electric power they sell to consumers under the plan. Each REC represents the renewable-characteristic of one MWh of power from a qualifying renewable generator. (My mock amazement at the energy storage matter was intended to be facetious.)

  3. On the one hand, no one has ever claimed the RECs that were used to fulfill an obligation (regulatory or contractual) were actually generated when the load was sunk

    On the other hand, the marketing here taking it a bit far and sounds silly

    On the third hand, it’s probably flywheels

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