For immediate release: April 27, 2023
Independent study says Prop K is economically feasible, would create jobs and have little to no ratepayer impact
This week, researchers published a report looking at the technical and economic feasibility of Proposition K, the El Paso ballot initiative that would reduce climate pollution in the city and includes goals for increasing renewable energy on El Pasoans’ electricity grid.
Idea Smiths LLC engineers focused on analyzing the energy marketplace and conducting energy-system modeling. The researchers conducted their own analysis as well as reviewed other studies and reports commissioned by the City of El Paso, El Paso Electric and University of Texas, directly addressing some of the deceptive claims made by the report commissioned by the El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Read the full report at www.ideasmiths.net.
Researchers note ample existing transmission connectivity on El Paso’s grid. They carefully analyzed the language in the proposed climate ordinance, finding that it “only applies to energy used by the municipal city government” and does NOT have a region-wide mandate, nor does it require changes to existing appliances or vehicles.
The researchers note that El Paso Electric committed to investors to generate 80% of electricity carbon-free by 2035 and 100% by 2045. The researchers assessed the feasibility of El Paso Electric’s commitment as well as the other provisions in the El Paso Climate Ordinance being voted on through May 6.
The engineers also analyzed the feasibility study commissioned by the El Paso City Council, which found that energy goals could be self-funded through a 15-year contract with an Energy Service Company. The feasibility study aligned well with the energy-potential modeling reviewed by the researchers. The group included El Paso Electric’s public models from 2021. IdeaSmiths concludes that the models “indicate that it is very possible to power a growing El Paso economy while vastly reducing emissions.”
Much of El Paso Electric’s current electricity comes from gas — 1,500 MW, or about 45% of EPE’s electricity generated in 2020. The researchers note “eight of the fifteen natural gas units online in 2021 were set to retire prior to the 2045 deadline [in Prop K]… Furthermore, El Paso Electric estimates that they can achieve 80% carbon-free electricity with almost no change to rates and 100% carbon-free electricity with a 1.2- to 5.8-cent increase on rates in 2040.”
The researchers found that decarbonization results in a net job increase that includes and goes beyond the energy sector and that a report issued by opponents of Prop K was based on “flawed” and “irrational” numbers.
“The proposed climate ordinance has the potential to bring real change to our community,” said Antoinette Reyes, Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter organizer. “Gas companies are working overtime to spread disinformation and spending big money opposing local climate solutions when those funds could be better spent improving the quality of life for El Pasoans through investments in cleaner air and doing more to protect our limited water resources.”
Additional press materials:
- El Paso Electric’s identical models can be viewed in the company’s 2021 sustainability report and 2021 four year Integrated Resource Plan
- University of Texas at Austin’s statewide study on net zero by 2050
- El Paso Matters coverage of IdeaSmiths report