The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recently warned citizens throughout the state to conserve electric power in their homes in light of possible rolling blackouts throughout the remainder of the summer.

Record-breaking temperatures have driven Texans to stay home and keep cool as best as possible, but this has strained the state’s power grid. Indeed, a notice posted on ERCOT’s website clearly stated that a statewide power shortage is highly possible, and no solutions are currently available. The grid operator has also issued an energy emergency alert regarding rolling blackouts.

This is the second call for power conservation issued by ERCOT this year. Just last May, the operator asked residents to reduce their use of electrical power when an unexpected heatwave that tripped off six generators drove up the cost of power generation to around $4,000 per megawatt hour.

Not Enough Power in Reserve

The rolling blackouts throughout Texas stan to affect over 26 million customers, encompassing households, industrial facilities, and commercial areas.

ERCOT asked locals to save energy between 2 PM and 8 PM daily as it anticipates power use to surge to hit 79,700 megawatts, much too close to its expected 80,200 megawatts of power in reserve. 

The grid operator has already called upon its suppliers to boost its available reserves and asked its biggest industrial clients to take the necessary conservation measures to reduce further strain upon the state power supply.

Extreme Weather is Affecting Power Generation

The Texas power grid is now seen by both environmentalists and energy sector experts as a clear example of how climate change can affect power generation and delivery on a large-scale basis. Both severe cold and extreme heat have played their part in decreasing power reserves throughout the state.

In the first quarter of 2021, Texas was gripped by its hardest winter in decades. The extreme cold and heavy snowfall made its power grid inoperable for several days, leaving millions of people suffering from the cold in homes ill-equipped to deal with bracing winters.

More recently, extreme heat has prompted many Texans to put their air conditioning systems on at full blast, causing further strain on the state’s electrical reserves. While one megawatt is sufficient to power at least 1,000 households on a normal day, it can barely power 200 homes in the sweltering summer weather, which has gone over 40 degrees Celsius in recent days.