As the scorching Texas heat drives power demand to all-time highs, the state’s grid operator is directing facilities to run at record speeds, often pushing them to postpone maintenance to keep the electricity up. For the time being, this has kept the lights on, but the short-term focus is putting even more strain on a system that is already at its breaking point.
Twice in the last week, officials have urged Texans to minimize their energy usage during hot afternoons as demand has crept dangerously close to exceeding supply.
According to Michele Richmond, executive director of Texas Competitive Power Advocates, a generator industry group, there are mounting questions about how long power facilities can keep up the hard pace of nonstop operation.
“Things are going to break,” Richmond said. “We have an aging fleet that’s being run harder than it’s ever been run.”
Residents have been urged to save energy twice in the next three days, according to ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. According to the local news site KXAN, ERCOT’s wish was granted as the electricity needed to power 100,000 homes was almost immediately reduced.
For now, Texas’ electrical infrastructure is dreadful; however, if the state is ready to invest the time and effort necessary to overcome problems, solutions are widely available.
For now, all we can do is hope and pray that the concerned authorities can devise practical, doable solutions to prevent Texans from passing away from heat stroke.