Changes in weather conditions lead to changes in energy consumption


It is well known that if you don’t like the current weather in Texas, wait a minute because it will change.

The cold snap that swept through Texas about a week ago brought sub-freezing temperatures for three days, and it was followed by a week of high temperatures in the 60s and 70s this week.

Of course, that doesn’t compare to February 2021, when temperatures in North Texas didn’t rise above freezing for eight days, according to the North America Land Data Assimilation System. A week later, the temperature was in the mid-70s across Texas.

At the 2021 event, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued power outages when demand for electricity exceeded supply. Net electricity generation fell below ERCOT’s forecast demand shortly after midnight on February 15 and lasted until February 18. Demand reached 70 gigawatts (GW) while supply shortages ranged from 20 to 30 gigawatts, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.

Laws and regulations have been passed to protect energy facilities before the next storm. The changes mandated winterization and follow-up inspection of generation and transmission equipment and increased operational reserves.

ERCOT submitted a report in January noting that 321 of 324 power generation units and transmission facilities have fully passed inspection for the Public Utility Commission’s new winterization regulations.

A few weeks later, a cold front appeared.

Unlike February 2021, this winter’s storm did not cause major power generation declines (natural gas, wind, and coal) in Texas and Texas natural gas power plants maintained fuel supplies for cold weather.

Policy makers are realizing that much more needs to be done as demand for electricity increases as Texas’ economy continues to thrive and the population continues to grow.

Texas’ energy consumption has increased 20% over the past 10 years, while the population has grown 16% to 29 million and the economy is breaking records.

Coal, which produced 37% of electricity in Texas in 2009, now generates 20%, as does wind power. Natural gas generates 47%.

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The Public Utility Commissions, which oversee ERCOT, have been tasked with making the electricity network more reliable.

PUC Commissioner Will McAdams recently suggested creating a system in an effort to increase reliability while meeting the states’ growing need for additional power.

“Texas’ economy is growing rapidly, and we need to tackle it head-on,” he said. , then we will need 15 GW of additional generation capacity in 10 years just to keep up with growth – and that’s assuming there is no withdrawal of existing generation resources,” McAdams wrote.

McAdam’s memo proposal would incentivize power producers to create power plants that could fire up quickly when the grid needs it and encourage the development of battery storage in wind and solar installations that could power the grid immediately when more is needed. energy was needed.

Alex Mills is the former president of the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers.


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