Summer Heat Could Wreak Havoc On Texas’ Grid

Texans need to be prepared for the grid to fail. Again. A new bombshell report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) shows that while Texas has made some progress in increasing surplus energy flow to the grid for times of heightened demand, power is going to be extremely tight this summer, and Texans should prepare to expect rolling blackouts during the hottest months of the year.

The recently released 2022 Summer Reliability Assessment found that Texas, along with parts of California and the Southwest, are in an “elevated risk category of energy emergencies.” The extra pressure on the grid comes from a combination of abnormally high temperatures and doubt conditions, poor upkeep and maintenance of generators across Texas, persistent supply chain issues, and increasing demand. NERC also sighted cyber threats, wildfires, and a shortage of coal generation inputs as major issues that they will be monitoring as the days grow hotter and sufficient energy supply to the grid becomes more vulnerable.

While Texas still lacks the energy capacity necessary to meet demand at its highest points during extreme weather conditions, NERC acknowledges that Texas has made concerted efforts to mitigate the issue. The Lone Star State has increased its anticipated reserve margins, largely thanks to the increased installation of solar and wind power capacity. Overall, Texas’ renewable energy capacity is 4,100 megawatts higher than last year. This increase in solar and wind capacity does not come without its own challenges, however. The industry is still working out what to do about “solar trips,” when solar resources shut off due to circuit problems or grid disturbances such as lightning or fires.

Texas’s much-maligned grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), was touting the recent increases in reserve energy capacity just the day before NERC dropped its sobering report.READ MORE