How Greater Reliance On Wind And Solar Means Texas’ Power Grid Is Less Nimble During Summer

“You can’t store that wind power or solar power for when you need it.”

By Alexandra HartMarch 11, 2019 10:03 am,

With just nine days until the official end of winter, temperatures all across Texas are certainly springlike. Highs are hovering in the 60s and 70s in many cases. But that also means summer is just a few months away, and so are high electricity bills that come along with cranking up the air conditioning. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, warns that consumers will likely demand more power than ever from the grid.

Matt Smith, director of commodity research at Clipper Data, says record demand could mean ERCOT will have to ask consumers to voluntarily cut their electricity use.

“They do this via demand-response programs, which encourage residential and commercial customers to basically reduce their load during these peak demand times … in exchange for a credit on their electricity bill,” Smith says.

Smith says ERCOT could also end up importing power from other states.

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How low so-called reserve margins are the “new normal” for the Texas power grid

– How a greater reliance on wind- and solar-generated power affects Texas’ grid during summer

– How Texas can improve its electrical energy reserves, and why Texas’ grid is unique compared to other states

Written by Caroline Covington.