As the death toll of the so-called Texas heatwave — officially — climbed to 14 on Thursday, renewable energy generation has so far kept lights on, air conditioners running, and electricity prices relatively low in Texas. “[Wind and solar] are really cranking,” Joshua Rhodes, a research scientist at the University of Texas, told Heatmap. The brutal heat, made worse and more likely by climate change, caused 8 megawatts of methane gas- and coal-fired power generation to fail, the state’s grid operator said.
Even so, “wind and solar are giving us a big enough buffer that even when we have a handful of power plants go offline, it isn’t causing disruptions,” Dan Cohan, a Rice University professor of civil and environmental engineering, told the Washington Post. The extreme heat, which is blanketing a large swath of the South as well as Mexico, subjected more than 60 million people in the U.S. to extreme heat on Thursday. (Texas deaths: AP, The Guardian); Renewables: Heatmap $, Washington Post $, PBS, Gizmodo; Broader heatwave: AP, Washington Post $, Inside Climate News, The Hill, Axios, Washington Post $; Calls for worker protections: The Hill; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwaves)