Story at a glance:
- Texas officials are concerned about the state’s power grid amid rising temperatures.
- July and August are expected to be even hotter.
- Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is responsible for 90 percent of Texas’s electricity.
Texas may not be ready to handle this summer’s unreasonably hot weather already, as officials, worried about the state’s electricity grid, are asking residents to conserve energy on basic household needs.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ESCROT) recorded a large number of power plants that went offline this week, with officials asking on Monday for residents to conserve power until Friday, the Texas Tribune reports. That Monday, electric demand was expected to outpace supply as temperatures hit an all-time high in the state, according to WFAA.
Just like the winter outages that claimed the lives of more than 100 people and cost $130 billion in damages, this summer’s weather might put a strain on Texas’s energy infrastructure, The Guardian reports. Residents are being asked to use less energy on everyday tasks like cooking and washing clothes.
With it only being June, Texas authorities are advising people to set their thermostats to 78 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances such as ovens, washing machines and dryers as the much hotter months like July and August could be a challenge.
On Monday, more than 12,000 megawatts of generation went offline, enough to power 2.4 million homes. A typical hot summer day requires about 1 megawatt for 200 homes, WFAA reports.
The warning from Ercot comes at a time when Texas is expecting temperatures in the '90s — a heat that shows little sign of abating.
“We’re heading into a future climate that is likely to have more extreme droughts and more powerful hurricanes, which put their own strain on the system,” Dan Cohan, an associate professor of civil environmental engineering at Rice University, told The Guardian. “This week we saw that the Texas power grid barely even prepared for weather that is hot for June, but nowhere near how hot it can get in July and August.”
The engineering professor believes ERCOT, responsible for 90 percent of Texas’s electricity, is not transparent on which coal and gas plants are up and running, nor has it said how it’s preparing for the summer demand.
“Ercot has really been leaving us in the dark as to which coal and gas power plants are down, and why,” he said. “They offered a belated acknowledgment that there are more than twice as many power plants down as they expected but no real clarity on why it’s happening. A lot of us are left guessing.”
EFCOT said the power plant outages this week were unexpected and did not provide details of what might be causing them, the Texas Tribune reports.
Six board members from ERCOT resigned over the winter storm outages and its CEO was fired in March, CNBC reported
Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a legislative bill to improve the state’s power grid, saying “everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid in Texas.”
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