Texas Is Going to Need a Lot More Power Soon

It will need to provide almost double by 2030, according to state utility's latest prediction
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2024 2:00 PM CDT
Texas Is Going to Need a Lot More Power Soon
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/igorbondarenko)

Texas has had its share of power grid woes, and it may soon have more issues to contend with. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, the state's main power grid operator, has issued an updated prediction on the state's future power needs, and it's a concerning one if it comes to fruition: that the Lone Star State will need to provide nearly double the amount of power by 2030 to meet demand, reports the Texas Tribune.

  • Numbers: Last year's demand on Texas' electrical grid was also a record-breaking one, at 85 gigawatts. ERCOT analysts say that in six years' time, that figure could reach 150GW.
  • Reason I: Besides Texas' increasing population, the Tribune cites a substantial jump in requests to jump on the grid from larger customers, such as oil and gas companies and data centers for AI, hydrogen production facilities, and crypto. The Austin Chronicle blames bitcoin and other firms in the Permian Basin for more than half of the new demand.

  • Reason II: There's also new legislation in Texas that permits requests for grid connections to be counted as part of the demand assessment before those requests are set in stone.
  • Grumblings: Some Texans aren't thrilled about the larger customers, as they sometimes ask for huge amounts of energy, then sell it back to the utility when the grid has a need—causing other customers' bills to spike. "There is eventually a prioritization that could be discussed, and obviously Texans—their families, their homes, their businesses—are the most important individuals, the most important clients for electricity," GOP state Sen. Charles Schwertner tells the Tribune.
  • History: The San Antonio Current notes that reforms were put in place after Winter Storm Uri wreaked havoc in 2021 on Texas' grid, which isn't connected to other grids nationwide, but critics say those changes were insufficient, and that the GOP-leaning state hasn't done enough to combat climate change.
  • Not all bad: The push to ramp up for the expected higher demand could lead to more inroads in renewable energy, as well as incentives and programs to encourage people to use less electricity overall. "This massive increase in load is going to provide greater momentum behind some very good trends," Democratic Sen. Nathan Johnson tells the Tribune.
(More Texas stories.)

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