This article is over 13 years old


Tuesday AM March 31st, 2009

Four Rice University researchers have examined the economic, environmental and reliability aspects of expanding power systems. Ed Mayberry reports.


To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

image of power station that uses multiple sources of energy, including wind and coal

Peter Hartley with Rice University says the research involved looking at electricity supply and demand in a deregulated market.  That included studying the functioning and reliability of transmission systems.

“Trying to keep a stable network and get electricity distributed around the system in a efficient way from an engineering point of view.  So part of the electrical engineering aspect is to model the actual transmission system.  Because a critical factor is, depending on where you put the new generating plant, it can affect the stability of the system.”

The report also examined economic factors.

“This current recession has probably helped a little bit, in the sense that we were looking at running into capacity shortages in Texas.  Now the recession, of course, may help a bit because it actually reduces the demand for electricity.  But I think, you know, we will come out of this recession.  I think that, you know, we will be back in the situation where we do need more electric capacity here in Texas.”  

The Rice report also examined the impact of power plant emissions on air quality.  Hartley says new power plants provide an opportunity to adopt cleaner and more efficient technologies. 

Ed Mayberry, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

Subscribe to Today in Houston

Fill out the form below to subscribe our new daily editorial newsletter from the HPM Newsroom.

* required