Texas Energy Crisis 2.0?
Just two months after the devastating energy crisis in Texas, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) initiated yet another alert last month calling for Texans to conserve energy amid concerns of yet another blackout.
Texans have faced dangerously low reserve margins in recent years, typically in the heat of the summer when energy is at its highest demand. The reserve margin which is the gap between energy supply and demand, has continuously shrunk due to policy decisions that incentivized intermittent resources without ensuring reliability of the grid. However, February’s energy crisis revealed that extreme cold weather can be just as debilitating as the typical extreme Texas heat.
But in April? This action is unprecedented. On April 13th, the day ERCOT issued a conservation appeal, high temperatures across the Lone Star State ranged from the upper-50s to the mid-80s. This type of weather calls for open windows, not high energy demand.
If the reserve margin has dropped low enough for a conservation alert in April, how will the grid survive throughout the summer? While ERCOT has attempted to quell concerns by claiming that the low reserve was due to power plants being down for maintenance, Texans are still rattled.
It is imperative that Texas policymakers find a solution to this growing issue. ALEC Board member, Representative Phil King (TX), has been instrumental in this effort. Representative King has introduced legislation to improve grid reliability in both the short-term and the long-term, including H.B. 2483 and H.B. 1607.
Learn more about what happened in February, as well as steps that lawmakers can take to ensure reliability, in our recent podcast with Michael Jewell of the Conservative Energy Network.