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(Left to right) State Rep. Chris Paddie, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and State Sen. Kelly Hancock show off Senate Bills 2 and 3 during a press conference at the Capitol on June 8. Abbott signed the bills into law to reform the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and weatherize and improve the reliability of the state's power grid. Photo: Montinique Monroe via Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed into law Tuesday a pair of bills aimed at improving the state's main power grid and reforming the agency that operates it.

Why it matters: The move comes months after a winter storm blew out Texas' power infrastructure and left over 4.8 million homes and businesses without power for days, per Texas Tribune. Calls to revamp the power infrastructure have grown since.

  • The state said that the February storm killed 151 people, though a BuzzFeed analysis estimated that at least 700 people died as a result of the storm.

Among other provisions, the legislation:

  • Requires power generator companies to prepare for extreme weather.
  • Mandates upgrades to power generators and transmission lines.
  • Instructs electricity providers to inform customers on how to register as "critical" to ensure households that require electricity for life-saving medical devices don't have their power cut.
  • Sets up an emergency alert system to warn Texans of weather emergencies and power outages.
  • Gives state politicians more influence over governance of ERCOT, the state's main grid operator.
  • Allows $6.5 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds for natural gas utilities and electric cooperatives in an effort to boost the state's energy market.

Worth noting: One of the new laws is more lenient toward natural gas fuel companies, the Tribune writes.

What he's saying: "Everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas," Abbott tweeted after he signed the bills into law.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Clean energy startup Arcadia raises $100 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Arcadia, a startup that provides people avenues to access renewable energy without having to change power companies, has raised $100 million to fuel its expansion.

Driving the news: New investors Tiger Global Management and the Drawdown Fund led the Series D round for the company founded in 2013 that has now raised $180 million overall.

Judge agrees to consider temporarily blocking Texas abortion ban

Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

A federal judge will hold a hearing on Oct. 1 to consider temporarily blocking enforcement of Texas' restrictive abortion ban after an emergency request from the Biden administration.

Why it matters: The hearing comes after the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit last week against Texas over the new law, which bans nearly all abortions and awards at least $10,000 to anyone who successfully sues a person that helps a pregnant person access an abortion after six weeks.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 15, 2021 - Energy & Environment

A wrinkle in Europe's climate policy debate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Surging European natural gas and power prices are spilling into the debate over European Unions' plans to implement a suite of aggressive climate policies.

Driving the news: "Had we had the Green Deal five years earlier, we would not be in this position because then we would have less dependence on fossil fuels and on natural gas," Frans Timmermans, a top European Commission official on climate, told a European Parliament meeting Tuesday.