Power demand in Texas is expected to hit an all-time high this week amid extreme heat that will strain the state’s power grid. With the forecast expected to hover in the high 90s all week and top triple digits over the weekend, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is predicting power usage this week will exceed the record set in August 2019.
The high temperatures stand to strain a grid that has already run into trouble this year when several power plants unexpectedly shut down over a few abnormally hot days in May, forcing ERCOT to ask consumers to conserve their power use (It’s unlikely that Tesla owners foregoing charging this week will make much of a dent in demand).
Texas’ grid and ERCOT’s stewardship are under increased scrutiny following days of blackouts during last February’s freeze, but the regulator is predicting that the new wind and solar capacity installed over the past year will help meet the expected demand this week. Texans are already seeing soaring electricity costs show up on their utility bills – 70% higher than June 2021, the highest since Texas privatized its grid in 1999 – even before summer arrives, thanks to the inflated price of gas that makes up the plurality of Texas’s energy sources.
“We’ve never seen prices this high,” AARP Texas Associate State Director Tim Morstad told the Dallas Morning News. “There’s going to be some real sticker shock here.” (Reuters)