Last week’s winter storm brought with it more than just ice and cold temperatures. For many Texans, it brought back memories from last year’s multiday freeze, power and water outages and near-failure of the state’s electric grid.
This time around, the lights stayed on for most of the state, with some exceptions. Local outages were reported in some areas as a result of ice and downed branches.
As Matt Smith, oil analyst for the Americas at Kpler, told Texas Standard, Texas’ energy and power infrastructure held up much better than last year. To hear more about why, read the highlights below or listen to the full interview in the audio player above.
Highlights from this interview:
– Demand on the electric grid was lower than expected, which helped keep blackouts at bay. Plus, school and business closures helped reduce demand from larger power consumers. Another mitigating factor? The grid had more power to give. Smith says there was about “25% more power-generation capacity available to come online if needed.”
– There were some disruptions in oil and natural-gas production because of frozen wells. And getting that oil and gas to processing facilities was also interrupted in some cases because of icy roads. Smith says that did affect the state’s overall natural gas supply, but only minimally.
– Winterization of power-generation facilities helped keep them online during the storm. Facilities powered by wind turbines also fared better compared to last year’s storm because turbines didn’t freeze.
“In fact, wind power … provided as much as 17.5 gigawatts [Thursday] morning, which actually met nearly a third of all electricity needs for Texas,” Smith said.