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Extreme heat is straining the power grid in Texas this summer, breaking 10 all-time records for peak demand and prompting calls for residents to conserve energy on some of the hottest days of the year.
Here’s what’s happening:
-The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which operates most of the state’s power load, issued a “conservation appeal” both Thursday and Friday. ERCOT asked residents to cut back on using electricity in the evening hours if it is safe for them to do so, and called on government agencies like city and county offices to conserve energy.
-On Aug. 10, ERCOT set an unofficial record for all-time peak electricity demand statewide. It was the 10th such record set this year.
-Eleven new all-time peak records were set last year.
Weather.com digital meteorologist Jonathan Belles adds:
-Virtually all of southern Texas is experiencing its warmest summer to date ever, including Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Brownsville. Each of those cities is running 2-5 degrees above average for the summer so far.
-Only Texas’ panhandle has been able to escape a top 10 warmest summer.
-Winds have been slightly below average from the Texas panhandle into Oklahoma and parts of north Texas. This is likely due to having the ridge of high pressure directly overhead at times during the summer.
What else to know:
-Texas gets 25% of its energy from wind power. ERCOT said the calm winds threatened to create a shortfall at the same time that demand was expected to increase due to the heat.
-The strain on the grid Thursday was less than expected, in part because of rainfall in the Houston area, ERCOT said.
-ERCOT came under scrutiny after days-long power outages in the winter of 2021. More than 150 deaths were connected to the storm, many of them related to power outages. Several changes have been implemented since.
-As climate change drives more extreme weather events, experts say the U.S. as a whole needs to modernize the power grid and be prepared for more outages.
Source : Weather