Texas energy grid expects surging demand as temperatures rise

With temperatures rising to nearly 39 C, Texas energy provider states it will have enough supply to match record demand.

A person sits outside of a cooling shelter during a heat wave in Portland, Oregon, US, August 11, 2021. [File: Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters]

In the face of economic growth and surging temperatures that cause increased air conditioner use, Texas broke previous power demand records for the month of June earlier this week.

According to reporting by Reuters, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), tasked with supplying about 90 percent of the state’s power load and serving 26 million residents, has said that energy supply will be enough to meet projected demands.

Some Texans may hesitate to take them at their word. In February 2021, freezing temperatures hobbled energy generation and ERCOT struggled to pull the grid back from the point of collapse as millions went for several days without power and, in some cases, water and heat.

Weather forecasts from AccuWeather show temperatures in Houston, the largest city in Texas, rising from the low 90s Fahrenheit (32.2 Celsius) earlier this week to 102 F (38.8 Celsius) on Sunday, substantially higher than the average high of 91 degrees (32.7 Celsius) for this time of the season.

The previous June record of power use, 70,257 MW in 2021, was surpassed on both Monday and Tuesday. While one megawatt typically produces enough daily power for 1,000 US homes, it is only enough to meet the power needs of 200 Texas homes on a hot summer day.

According to ERCOT forecasting, peak demand will reach more than 77,166 MW on Thursday, breaking the previous all-time record of 74,820 MW set in August 2019. ERCOT expects continued economic growth to push power usage even higher.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies