Energy consumption in Texas has reached a record as temperatures rise

Energy consumption in Texas has reached a record as temperatures rise

Overhead power lines were seen during record temperatures in Houston, Texas, USA, February 17, 2021. REUTERS / Adrees Latif

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June 6 (Reuters) – Texas demand for electricity is set to break its historic record this week, testing the network’s resilience after this year’s generation problems and a full-day blackout in 2021.

Extreme weather is putting a strain on power grids across the United States, and regulators are predicting record heat and drought that could cause rotating power outages in several regions this summer. Read more

Texas is the most closely watched country among energy analysts due to its unique setting and high demand. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid for most of the state, expects energy demand to rise to a historic record on Tuesday – surpassing the level reached in August 2019.

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The state is the largest producer of energy in the country and its largest consumer. Its network is largely isolated from the rest of the United States to avoid some federal regulations that prevent it from drawing on other US networks in an emergency. The state lasted several days without power during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.

ERCOT said it had enough resources to meet projected demand, but has already run into problems this year.

During a small heat wave in mid-May, ERCOT was forced to ask customers to save energy after several power plants closed unexpectedly, causing real-time prices to rise briefly to more than $ 4,000 per megawatt-hour (MWh), compared with an average of $ 60. this year. Read more

Although ERCOT has enough resources to keep the lights on this summer, the grid may not be able to move all its energy from where it is produced to where it is consumed, which increases costs for consumers.

“Real-time transmission congestion has risen 46% to $ 2.1 billion in 2021,” said Potomac Economics, an independent market monitor for ERCOT, in a May report. When this congestion occurs, it will increase prices for buyers who need to get energy. More than $ 560 million in congestion costs were generated during Winter Storm Uri.

AccuWeather predicts that temperatures in Houston will remain at a high 90 degrees Fahrenheit all week and will reach 38.3 degrees Celsius on Saturday, which is 10 degrees higher than usual.

ERCOT expects energy consumption to reach 77,544 megawatts on Tuesday, exceeding the historic maximum of 74,820 MW set in August 2019. read more

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ERCOT says the addition of wind and solar power in the last year should increase available energy sources to 91,392 MW. One megawatt can power about 1,000 American households on a typical day, but only about 200 on a hot summer day.

Energy demand is growing because Texas has been the third fastest growing country by population, according to the U.S. Census. ERCOT serves more than 26 million customers in Texas and covers about 90% of government energy consumption.

The state’s industrial sector accounts for 23% of energy consumption in the industrial sector nationwide, and is expected to grow through drilling, refining and cryptocurrency mining, Greenberg said.

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Report by Scott DiSavino Editor Chizu Nomiyama and John Stonestreet

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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