Texas came uncomfortably close to another round of rolling blackouts on the night of April 13 because grid operators misjudged the weather. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of the state’s grid, had counted on a mild cold front sweeping the state, lowering demand for power. It didn’t happen. As a result, demand on the grid was about 3,000 megawatts higher than anticipated. To learn more, read “Texas Nearly Went Dark Because Officials Misjudged Weather.” Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.
- The forecasting error came as 25% of power generation was offline for seasonal repairs and served as a reminder of the vulnerability of Texas’s grid.
- Texas has long taken a laissez-faire approach to its power grid, allowing market forces – rather than regulations – to ensure there’s enough power on hand to satisfy demand.
- The market is designed to operate with thin reserve margins. Unless lawmakers intervene, weather will continue to beget volatility in the power grid.
- The summer months will present another test for grid operators. Almost 75% of Texas is gripped by drought and more than 91% of the state is abnormally dry.
Path to 100% Perspective:
The latest close call in Texas shows there is an urgent need to adopt common-sense regulations that lead to grid reliability and ratepayer protection. While extreme weather was not to blame in this case, many believe climate change will make extreme and unpredictable weather more commonplace. There must be adequate, dispatchable power for unusual weather events, especially as global reliance on renewables continues to grow.
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