The Texas power grid, managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), is bracing for a challenging summer, as it predicts a surge in electricity demand that may lead to brownouts. For those who don’t know, a brownout is a temporary drop in voltage, whereas a blackout is a complete loss of power, something Texas is becoming all too accustomed to.
Population Growth vs. Power Grid Capacity
Last year, the Texas grid broke demand records 11 times with demand reaching a high of approximately 80,000 megawatts during the extreme summer heat. This summer, ERCOT forecasts peak demand to be even higher, reaching 82,739 megawatts. Peter Lake, chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, notes that the increased demand results from the state’s population growing faster than the grid can keep up with. According to Lake, the equivalent of the entire city of Oakland, California is moving to Texas every year. However, from 2008 to 2022, Texas’ on-demand dispatchable power supply grew only 1.5% compared to the population’s growth of 24%. Texas’ rapid population growth has outpaced the capacity of the power grid, necessitating urgent measures to address the escalating demand.
ERCOT Blames Renewable Energy to Garner Support for Natural Gas
In addition to population growth spurring demand for energy across the state, ERCOT’s CEO Pablo Vegas recently sparked controversy from his statements attributing the predicted power shortage to the unreliability of renewable energy sources. ERCOT’s capacity predictions specifically call wind unreliable, and the Legislature continues to target renewables in favor of bolstering natural gas. By shifting the blame onto renewables, ERCOT aims to garner support for the construction of natural gas-powered plants funded by public money. Currently, lawmakers at the state Capitol are debating multiple proposals that could increase residents’ electric bills, use taxpayer dollars to build natural gas-fueled power plants or both. In the Texas Senate, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said he won’t let legislators go home until they guarantee to subsidize the construction of new natural gas power plants using an estimated $18 billion worth of taxpayer dollars.
Going Solar to Reduces Costs and Increases Reliability
As Texans face the prospect of increased electric bills and power shortages, homeowners have the opportunity to take action and reduce their bills while contributing to the grid’s reliability. Transitioning to solar power offers an effective solution for locking-in energy rates and ensuring protection against the price hikes that the Texas Legislature is currently debating. By installing solar panels, homeowners can generate their own electricity, reducing their reliance on the unpredictable Texas grid. Solar power not only makes the entire grid more resilient by creating distributed energy sources that reduce strain, but it also contributes to a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Battery Backups: Ensuring a Continuous and Reliable Power Supply
While solar panels can generate electricity during the day, homeowners may still face challenges during extended grid outages. To overcome this, integrating battery backups with solar arrays becomes crucial. Battery storage systems allow homeowners to store excess solar energy generated during the day and utilize it when the grid is down or during the evening. By adding battery backups, homeowners can ensure continuous power supply to their homes, even during extended periods of grid failure.
As for the state as a whole, renewable energy advocates worry that the Legislature is focused too much on increasing supply and not enough on conservation strategies, such as batteries charged by wind and solar, which provide dispatchable energy when renewables go offline. House Bill 5, a sweeping tax break bill, could’ve been helpful by including incentives for batteries. But an amendment specifies that benefits go to only fossil fuel-powered batteries, even though most are powered by renewables. This is just another example of bureaucratic barriers hindering opportunities for new renewable projects in Texas.
Go Solar with NATiVE
ERCOT’s prediction of brownouts due to record-breaking electricity demand in Texas highlights the urgent need to address the power grid’s resilience. Homeowners can play a significant role in improving the grid’s reliability by adopting solar power and integrating battery backups. By generating their electricity and storing excess energy, homeowners can reduce their reliance on the grid during peak demand periods and ensure uninterrupted power supply to their homes.
If you’re tired of having to worry about the state of the grid and how it will impact you, it’s time to consider going solar. Solar is both reliable and predictable, offering you energy independence and peace of mind. Take the first step today by and receive a free quote. Want more immediate information? Check out our online calculator. Schedule a consultation with us to go over all of your unique concerns. NATiVE has been servicing the greater Texas area for over 15 years now, and our experts look forward to guiding you on your journey towards energy independence. #TakeYourPowerBack with NATiVE Solar.