As summer temperatures have continued to rise with a record-breaking heat wave rolling through the nation, the U.S. feared another Texas power grid failure. Luckily, Texas’s independent energy grid remained afloat with multiple adjustments involving renewable and energy efficiency production and practices. Many Texans increased their thermostat temperatures to help save power. Additionally, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) emergency response program encouraged large energy consumers to reduce energy usage during peak times by providing a financial incentive.
How renewable energy impacted the Texas power grid
Renewable energy produced by the Texas power grid is a significant source of total energy and has continuously set records for energy production in the state. Total renewable energy contributed to the Texas power grid is primarily solar and wind power. Solar power composes 25% of renewable energy to the grid, and wind power composes the other 75%.
Similar to public officials’ reactions to the massive winter storm that hit Texas in winter 2021, renewable energy initially took the blame for the failing power grid. Specifically, wind power was blamed in both 2021 and during the current heatwave. The Texas grid was expected to withstand extreme heat better than extreme cold, however, temperatures in the state have dramatically increased to August-level heat in June. With power plants working at maximum production and forgoing maintenance in favor of productivity, the Texas power grid is stressed even further. Renewable energy, particularly solar, has increased energy production significantly. For example, solar generates almost 40 times more power in 2022 than it did in 2016.
Renewable energy positively impacted the Texas power grid during the heatwave through solar energy production. In addition, renewable energies have helped to keep the cost of energy low during peak demand. While natural gas and coal have seen a global price increase, renewable energy projects like solar and wind have no fuel cost. With solar projects rapidly developing in Texas, the state has an opportunity to stabilize the power grid.
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