Texas’ power grid may need to dip into power reserves as demand grows

Texas’ power grid, which set an all-time record this week, is on the verge of breaking the record yet again and may need to dip into power reserves this afternoon, according to its website. 

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) broke records on Monday, with power demand topping 76,600 megawatts. 

FILE: Power lines are seen during a heatwave with expected temperatures of 102 F (39 C) in Dallas, Texas, U.S. June 12, 2022. (REUTERS/Shelby Tauber/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

ERCOT’s forecast for Thursday indicated demand could reach nearly 77,900 megawatts by 5 p.m., possibly forcing the non-profit grid operator to dip into power reserves. 

ERCOT says it has enough reserves to meet demand, with more than 3,800 megawatts, according to its website. One megawatt can power about 200 homes on a hot summer day. 

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“ERCOT projects sufficient generation to meet possible record demand today. ERCOT is monitoring conditions closely and will deploy all available tools to manage the grid reliably,” the organization told FOX Business in a statement, adding that it “continues to coordinate closely with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) as generation resource owners and transmission utilities to ensure they are prepared.” 

Houston, TEXAS ERCOT

FILE: An electric generator is seen at the CenterPoint Energy powerplant on June 09, 2022 in Houston, Texas.  (Brandon Bell/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Texas Oil & Gas Association President Todd Staples said on Tuesday that state lawmakers have provided tools to ERCOT and PUC to ensure the state is able to meet demand going into the hot summer months of July and August. 

“Texas has excess capacity available when plants are online and renewables are able to put power on the grid,” Staples said. “However, new resources come with a cost and it is important that policies ensure the market remains competitive and cost-effective for Texans and produces power when needed most.” 

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Demand will also likely rise amid overall economic and population growth in Texas. ERCOT anticipates new wind and solar power plants added over the past year will increase resources this summer to more than 91,300 megawatts. Texas produces more natural gas than any other state, according to the EIA, and has also responded to the historic 2021 freeze by adding natural gas and renewable power generation capacity.

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