ERCOT, the power grid operator for most of Texas, has predicted that Texas will see an all time record breaking peak for electric usage this week. We are having an extreme heat wave here in Texas, so most consumers are cranking up their air conditioners in order to keep things cool. I know that my air conditioner in my home runs 24/7, and I still have to run two box fans in order to sleep comfortably.
ERCOT forecast peak demand would top 65,800 megawatts on Tuesday, Aug. 2, and 65,900 MW on Thursday, Aug. 4, which would break the current all-time record of 65,776 MW set in August 2010. The grid operator has reported that Texas has already broken monthly records for the months of May, June, and July, and expects will top 65,900 MW on Thursday to beat the all time record of 65,776 MW.
It is expected that ERCOT will have enough power resources to meet the demand this week, but there have been warnings. Heavy usage could stress some power lines and generating facilities. That, in itself, could leave some customers without power.
We are seeing some extreme weather this summer. It is HOT in Texas, so the generation plants are operating at extreme capacity. That is putting a lot of strain on the system.
Pricing for energy in Texas has increased almost 90% since Friday in anticipation of the high demand this week. This is the fourth time next-day prices have topped $100 since February when the ice storms hit. When the generation plants are unable to operate, that is when you can expect rolling blackouts. The grid operator has issued three rolling blackouts in last 21 years. Two of those were in the winter months; however, one was in April 2006 due to an unusual heat wave.
We have written articles on ways to be proactive in conserving energy and keeping our demand as low as possible. If we are not proactive, we will not be able to see cheap energy rates in Texas. When the demand goes up, energy rates go up. It’s a commodity, and that’s the nature of the beast. So, I challenge each of you to be more proactive toward energy conservation. What steps are you taking to prevent blackouts, keep peak demand at a minimum, and save on energy in Texas?