AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas could set records for statewide electricity demand with near 100-degree heat expected this weekend.
Setting records will happen more frequently as Texas’ population keeps growing. Texas’ population is affecting the state’s power grid, making record-setting demand possible more often.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) released a statement Tuesday, writing that it is prepared to handle the high demand this weekend. ERCOT said it has asked power plants that are offline right now for routine maintenance to go back online.
A Texas energy expert explained ERCOT’s statement further.
“They do use the word outage, which is scary,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas at Austin energy expert, said. “I know everyone has PTSD — particularly from what happened in February last year… it doesn’t necessarily mean that the power is going to go out for any person.”
Rhodes said Texas has been adding wind, solar and storage generation to our grid over the years.
“We’re going to have to build new power plants, new transmission lines…so that it’s able to keep pace with demand,” Rhodes said.
Texans aren’t necessarily in favor of the state’s population growth. A poll from UT’s Texas Politics Project found that 40% of Texans do not believe the growth has been a good thing.
For now, ERCOT hasn’t asked the public to conserve power ahead of the heat wave.
Texas did create its first-ever electricity supply chain map, which helps with quick responses in a weather emergency. This is something that was discussed after the 2021 February winter storm.
This map displays the state’s infrastructure for the electricity supply chain, helping to keep an eye on the electric grid.